5 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Organize and Manage Their Calendars
Every entrepreneur is short on one thing… time. Learn how to manage your calendars and budget time effectively with these easy tools.
Knowing what needs to be done, and when, is essential information for any entrepreneur. Good time and calendar management grows even higher on the list of priorities for those who are doing the majority of the work by themselves. A well-scheduled calendar can prove to be an invaluable tool. But sometimes, it’s not enough in itself.
Despite the wide availability of time-management software, as well as the good old desk calendar, getting everything to work smoothly can take a lot of effort. But that’s not to say it’s impossible. Instead, great calendar management takes some skill, creativity, and a few smart integrations.
1. Choosing the right program
What works for one user might not be the best option for another. This is true of any software out there.
But when choosing a calendar management program, the deciding factor is likely to be the type of device you already use. There’s a number of free and paid choices available, so don’t be afraid to give a few of them a try before you decide on the best one for you.
If you already use Gmail, Google Chrome, or an Android device, this is going to be the easiest choice. In addition to the free mobile apps for Android and iOS, it’s also available as a web application, so you can access it directly from your browser’s home screen. It allows you to create as many calendars as you need (and color code them), as well as to invite coworkers with whom you can share entire projects or specific events.
People using the Apple ecosystem will likely prefer to use native programs, and that’s understandable. Like all other software products made by Apple, iCal is intuitive, easy to use, and works equally well on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Its main advantage has to be the notification system that operates absolutely seamlessly, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting an important meeting ever again.
If you’re ready to invest in an organizational tool, you should definitely check out Any.do, which integrates task and event management systems into a powerful app. It offers a host of options, from creating location-based reminders, to easily digestible overviews of what’s scheduled for each day. Its full functionality does come at a price, however, as the Pro version requires a monthly subscription.
Microsoft Outlook Calendar
The Outlook calendar comes installed on Windows computers and is the best choice for those who want hassle-free email integrations, as well as the ability to share their schedule with coworkers or family members. It is important to note, however, that the Android and iOS apps don’t come with a full set of features, and Windows users will need to pay a monthly subscription to get the most out of it.
The Woven calendar app is an excellent collaborative tool that has some really unique features. You can create reusable templates for each common type of meeting you have. You can also send a link to someone so that they can choose a time that works for them that matches your availability. There is also a group polling feature so that you can easily find common availability amongst a group of people. It also provides detailed analytics on how you’re scheduling your day.
2. Scheduling your tasks
Once you’ve chosen the calendar app that works best for you, the next step will be to start developing the habit of using it. And for the majority of entrepreneurs, this is the most difficult part of the process.
More often than not, when pressed for time, people will rely on their memory or write important info down on scraps of paper or in their mobile phone notes app. Unfortunately, this scattered way of storing information opens up too much room for error – it becomes too easy to lose track of notes, or even to double-book, especially when multitasking.
That’s why a number of highly successful people swear by scheduling every single part of their day. To begin, you’ll have to set aside a couple of hours to enter all your currently scheduled meetings, phone calls, assignments, etc. Don’t forget also to include entries for your lunch breaks, commute times, and anything else that will be taking up your time. After the initial scheduling phase, you’ll find that adding new entries will be easy, as long as you commit to it.
3. Making the most of virtual assistants
Even if you don’t own a Google Nest Hub or Apple HomePod, you can use the virtual assistant in your Android or Apple device to schedule meetings or set reminders, timers, and alarms. For those whose work depends on productivity and punctuality, this is a huge benefit.
In addition to creating calendar entries by saying a few simple words, you can also make use of features such as getting an overview of what you have scheduled for the day or even keeping up to date on traffic and weather conditions that may make your commute slower than usual. Add to this the ability to send texts and make calls by simply saying a command, and you’ve got yourself a pretty functional office that uses tools you already have.
4. Using a calendar for more than just scheduling meetings
The great thing about scheduling apps is that you can integrate them with other software solutions. Utilizing combinations of small programs, you can automate almost your entire business operation, allowing for a smooth flow of information between all the programs you use. Not only do integrated apps make it easier for you to focus on your tasks, but they also prevent you from wasting precious hours on mundane tasks.
There’s an app for everything, but the following are some of the best currently available:
This project management software is made for small and large teams alike. It offers a visual representation of all current and future tasks, making it simple to create sub-tasks, add information, or even upload files. It also includes features such as assigning to colleagues and in-app chats, and when integrated, it allows you to translate scheduled Google Calendar events into to-dos.
If you find that you need reports regarding time spent on certain assignments, or simply want to make invoicing easier, TimeTackle is an excellent app to try out. It’s one of the simplest solutions out there, aimed at taking the info out of your well-managed timetable and transforming it into Excel reports you can use for a multitude of purposes.
Entrepreneurs with several employees often struggle with keeping track of when everyone is going to be away on holiday, especially if they don’t have a person in charge of HR. With Timetastic, it’s extremely easy for employees to ask for days off, as well as for everyone else to know when they won’t be in the office. This way, you can avoid scheduling issues and get things done more efficiently.
Projects that are billed by the hour can be a real pain in the neck. Especially if you have a tendency to forget to track the hours spent working. TrackingTime is an app that is easily integrated into Google Chrome and all your favorite project management apps. Not only does it add up the total time you spent on a project, but it can also be automated, which is great for those who tend to get lost in their work.
5. Don’t forget about traditional tools
The benefits of digital calendars and organization tools are huge, but don’t forget about using traditional resources as well. If you prefer to scribble your thoughts in a journal, you may find that using a notebook for keeping track of tasks and schedules is the way to go. For some people, writing information down with a pen makes it easier for them to remember it than just typing it on a keyboard, so if you find that you’re more of an analog type of entrepreneur, don’t be afraid to go with what works best for you. Even if it’s not the latest hi-tech solution.
Small business owners often have to deal with limited resources – not just in terms of time and money, but often in terms of the number of staff they have on hand. This is why staying well-organized is such an important thing. Time and task management have one ultimate goal: ensuring that everything is done as efficiently as possible, without disrupting other ongoing operations. With the right practices, they’re made relatively simple, which ultimately results in better end results.
What calendars or task management apps do you use? Have you found that a certain tool works better than others? Share your experiences in the comment section below.