3 Tools to Save Massive TimeJul 11, 2022
Time is such a valuable resource that most of us feel like we don't have enough of. In today's blog post, I am going to walk through three simple tools I use every day to save time in my business (and let’s face it, life schedule).
Planning For Success Starts the Night Before
Before we even dig in I think it is important to acknowledge that my best days happen when I plan them the night before. Here’s what I mean. I don’t really like to think when I first get up so it is easier to visualize how I want the day to run the night before. If I am using my planner (which ps. you should), I simply ask myself these questions:
- How did today go?
- What did I learn?
- How can tomorrow be better?
Next, I look at my day for the next day and map it out. I map it out the night before down to the time I am going to get up and what I am going to do during each block of time all day. That way if something needs to happen before the next day I can adjust or just mentally prepare. Along with that planning and time-blocking, I communicate to the family what is happening. This leads to my first tip.
#1 - Visually Communicate Your Schedule
I actually do this three ways. I have my planner which has my daily to-do’s but we also have a quarterly wall calendar as a family that hangs in my office. We map out family vacations, school events, etc, and then map out business events. This has been a game-changer because my business events are visible to everyone, not just me, which is an instant time saver. We also have a mini-white board (it is literally an Ikea easel) in our kitchen where I write down our milestones as a family for the week.
When is dance class? The girls will see it on the whiteboard on Wednesday.
When is family pizza night? On the whiteboard. On Friday.
When are mom’s meetings? This is especially helpful when my daughters are not in school. I don’t write down all my day-to-day activities, but I may write “Mom meetings 10-12”. And because my girls are 8, they are able to know when I am working and when I am not.
So tip #1 is to make your calendar and milestones visible so everyone including yourself can see them!
#2 Pick a Scheduling Tool
Pick a scheduling tool with workflow capability AND design it around your ideal schedule. Let me explain.
I use Calendly, but you want to pick a scheduling tool for clients to book time with you, book podcasts, set up discovery calls, or my new favorite, just chat with new biz friends about collaboration.
The trick is to set it up with your ideal schedule now. As an example, I do not take meetings on Mondays or Fridays unless I absolutely need to or they are with my team. I also only take calls two hours a day with a limit of three client calls a day. What does that do?
- It free’s up my schedule with whitespace.
- It shows my clients I practice what I preach. You have to protect your boundaries and they know when to set up calls.
The other trick to this is REALLY leaning into the free workflow feature. You can use a client intake form that is built into the invite, send out reminders and texts, and follow-up actions. And most of these features are free within the tool.
A Real Life Example
Here is an example of how we use this with our podcast.
- You fill out an application to be on our podcast. Once we review it and say yes, I send you an email (which is manual).
- The email (which is a calendar link to book your time) is in Calendly. We only do podcast interviews on Wednesdays from 10-2 and I only do two a week. In case you are wondering if this is enough, we have interviews done for 2022 and are recording for 2023 now.
- Once the applicant picks a time, Calendly sends them an email with all the prep steps for the podcast interview. Calendly also sends them 3 reminders prior to the interview AND after the interview a thank you email. The thank-you email has a link for them to refer to future quests.
All I have to do is send one link. The rest is automated. Plus Callendly and most scheduling tools have master calendars. So if you are going on vacation, you just update the calendar and it updates all your meetings. And even better, it integrates with Google Calendar (which should be a free tool you are using as well). So if my husband puts a Dentist appointment for the girls on the calendar, a podcast application can’t schedule an interview. It is magical. And this podcast example has literally saved me HOURS a week.
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A Free Tool for Communicating
The last FREE tool I swear by (which I might need to do a part two of this blog because there are so many more that I use!) is Voxer and Slack. I am combining them because you can choose which platform you like best but I use them both.
Voxer is a walkie-talkie app and allows me to do 1:1 coaching with my clients in real time, on my schedule and their schedule. As an example, I have a few clients who are not in the U.S. or have different time zones. They are able to leave me messages and I am able to leave them messages when it works for us. It truly is a personal experience that you are able to use to control your schedule. We have also rolled out mentor programs inside our mastermind tied to “Voxer pods.” where groups can work together and it is super powerful.
Slack is a new tool in my business toolkit but I used it in the corporate world A LOT. Every time I describe Slack I think of it as the modern AOL instant messenger. My screenname was starhmb. You know, because I wanted to be a star on the list and then those were my initials. Anyways, the best thing about Slack is you can organize your conversations by topic. So we have a Club topic, Mastermind topic, podcast topic, etc. and those that need to be in the conversations with our team are added. As an example, if I have a random idea about what we want to do in our mastermind, which happens a lot, I write it in the mastermind conversation section, and then when my team is working (on their hours) they can check it and respond. It helps set boundaries and keeps track of conversations.
Slack is also integrated with Google Calendar, Canva, Trello, and all the things AND can be a mobile app on your phone so you can communicate on the go. (Like at the pool in the summer when I have an idea reading Malibuu Rising - true story).
You can also use Slack for client service and response. (hint, we have a brand new program coming out this fall which is going to utilize this for support). So you can ask a question on your terms, and the group and the coach (i.e me) can respond.
Everything is organized and easy to access.
The combination of these tools saves HOURS in my business but also makes a much better experience for my clients and team.
I am curious, have you used these, and if so have you set them up this way? DM me what time-saving apps you love and better yet if this has been helpful!
Looking for more on this topic and your High-Level Action items? Check out the Strategy Lab in the Crush the Rush Club!