Ever have those days where you’ve forgotten to do something, or, suddenly remember at the last minute and then everything is a rush? I absolutely hate that and feel like the rest of the day I spend in a tiz trying to catch back up.
When I was a kid, if I thought I was going to be even a minute late for school (which never happened so I have no idea why it was an issue for me!?), I would tell my Mum that I wasn’t going!! I get it from my Dad, it’s ingrained in my personality, and it is who I am.
I have learned to embrace it and surprisingly so has my husband. He is not a planner, but he is more than happy to be married to someone who is going to do all of that for him!
I am a complete control freak and have everything planned down to times I need to leave to get places. If you know me, you know I am never late! Well, unless there is a very good reason, and you would definitely be told ASAP.
I review my schedule on a Sunday and then each evening I remind myself of the following day to make sure I’m prepared for what tomorrow has in store.
Many entrepreneurs and business owners have creative personalities which can often come at the expense of the vital methodical approach that a great run business needs and run contrary to the traits that correspond with organization and planning, yet time management is vital to business success. Stopping what you are doing, moving to something else and then going back to it takes more time than just doing it and finishing it in the first place and can stagger flow and efficiency, requiring more effort which is not a profitable process. This is time you could be spending on other projects, making more profit!!!!!
So how do you get around having the flexibility but keeping on track and schedule?
You hire someone who is awesome at it… like me!
Calendar management is a great task to outsource to a VA. Provided you are clear on your requirements (I’ll give you some clues later), sometimes someone else’s eyes on your schedule can improve time efficiency and structure your days to make you more productive.
Now, I’m not saying that every second has to be scheduled, but a VA can schedule your meetings in blocks to make non-meeting time productive and they can look to arrange local meetings by location to save valuable travel time, as simple examples.
These days (how old am I?!) the technology available to be able to outsource some of these tasks is so great that it just makes sense!
My husband and I share an Apple Calendar on our phones and it is so useful to be able to see each other’s schedules, especially now that we have a little one in preschool and added to life’s logistics!
But for business there are so many options.
You can delegate responsibility within Outlook and Gmail, (even Hotmail for the internet dinosaurs like me) or there are great CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools likes Asana and Trello (and many, many more) which allow you to use calendars and tasks to allocate your time and keep everything in one place, including all the documentation related to the clients and tasks so you don’t have to spend time hunting around for it. Time efficiency!!
I have used both of these tools and personally love Asana. I’d be happy to share some Asana guidelines in another blog. If anyone is interested in that, let me know.
Calendars can be used not just for meetings, but also for task lists and prioritization.
The best thing that I’ve ever found was color coding to prioritize tasks.
During my Sunday schedule review, I add any tasks that I may be missing into my calendar. These usually come from my diary that I carry around. This is something I need to become more efficient on but for now it works for me and I feel comfortable that I’m not missing anything.
- I set all tasks that need to be completed at a specific time (usually meetings or appointments) in one color.
- I then set all tasks that have some time flexibility but need to be completed that day in another color – usually a lighter version of the initial color because I like everything matching and pastel shades.
- And then tasks that are just nice to have are set in another again – usually an even lighter version of the initial color. Matchy matchy!
These tasks often get moved to the following day if I don’t manage them, and that’s ok! I used to freak that my to-do list didn’t get done but using the prioritization really allows me to put it in to perspective and see what I have accomplished!
A VA can really help your business through daily or weekly discussions, analyzing what didn’t get done to help decide if the tasks needs to be moved to the next day, re-prioritized or if it simply isn’t a high enough priority to ever get done. Which is OK too! It’s OK to outsource tasks like setting up appointments and research to a VA who is happy to give you some time back for creativity (or even just some downtime!).
So what are my guidelines for outsourcing calendar management
Set up a process!!!! The thing of paramount importance here is that there is a process and everyone is aware and happy with it. The last thing you want to feel is that you don’t know what’s going on. You need to have a fail proof process for letting the VA know what needs scheduling. This could be via a daily/weekly meeting or an email system. Whichever you choose, make sure everyone is happy and that you stick to it. Chopping and changing can easily cause confusion and very quickly you are missing tasks or appointments and back to where you started. It can be hard to give up the control but resisting change will only impact how successful your VA can be for you!
Make sure you tell the VA your guidelines. Here are some great questions to get you started.
What are you working hours?
-How long do you allow for certain tasks?
-Do certain tasks take priority? – E.g. Customer calls
-When would you like to be alerted for upcoming appointments? E.g 1 hour before, 2 hours before etc
-What is the traffic in your area like for travel to locations? Are there busy times of the day that need to be factored in?
-Any regular commitments?
There are many more which are personal to each industry and business owner.
It may seem like it could be a lot of hassle, but outsourcing calendar management can be a great time saver for your business.
If you have any questions or want to talk about calendar management, please get in touch 😊 It’s one of my favorite things to talk about.