Three Top Tools For Managing Your Jam Packed Calendar

Manage your calendarHowever much you love running your micro business, there are certainly plenty of challenges. And one of the top ones for many busy micro business owners is how to manage your time.

If you regularly find yourself starting the week with a ‘to do’ list containing a million and one items (giving you a headache before you’ve even begun), then these three calendar efficiency tools will help you organise your workload into something more manageable. What’s more, you’ll save you valuable hours on those time-consuming tasks that simply aren’t the best use of your time.

1.  Remember the Milk

Remember The Milk is a simple yet powerful tool that enables you to manage your to do list from anywhere. Here are some examples of how you can put the tool to use in your micro business:

Create lists of tasks and prioritise them

Remember the Milk is a great tool for managing all your many tasks and projects. Rather than having one massive and overwhelming ‘to do’ list, you can split your list into specific groups such as client work and personal tasks. What’s more, as you enter items onto the system it’s then possible to set priorities, deadlines and reminders. It’s a great way to keep on top of your busy workload.

Edit your lists from anywhere in the world

Remember The Milk is a cloud based tool which means it’s possible to access your lists from anywhere. In addition, there are a range of apps that can be downloaded onto your tablet or smart phone which means you don’t need to be on your laptop or PC to quickly update or check something. Another really useful feature is the ability to sync Remember the Milk with your calendar – ideal for allowing reminders and deadlines to be imported.

Share your lists with other people

Sometimes you may want to share a list of tasks with other people for example if you are delegating tasks to your VA or working as part of a team to complete a project. Remember the Milk has a feature that allows you to share a list with another person so they can also access and edit. This is a great time saver as it cuts out the need for back and forth email conversations.

How to get started

Remember The Milk is free to use. Simply sign up for an account, use the tabs to create and organise your lists and then start adding your tasks! If you want to share lists with another person you’ll need to add them as a contact first. Finally if you want to be able to sync your account with your calendar, you can do this in your “settings”.

2.  TimeTrade

You can use TimeTrade to seamlessly schedule your appointments without all the time wasting ‘to-ing and fro-ing’. Here’s the lowdown on the benefits:

Sync your calendar

It is not uncommon for email conversations to go back and forth until an appropriate time is found for a meeting – and this wastes valuable time. TimeTrade is a worthwhile tool to use, particularly if you regularly schedule appointments with clients. Sync your calendar to TimeTrade and it recognises when you are busy, allowing you to quickly and easily select options for when you are available for a meeting.

Send scheduling emails to lots of people at the same time

If you have a list of people you need to meet up with for the same purpose, TimeTrade allows you to create an activity and send the same email to all those individuals in one go. They will simply receive an email addressed to them, inviting them to choose a date from the options.

As TimeTrade is synced to your calendar, the options available to the person will be constantly updated ensuring they only ever see time slots you have available at that present time. Once they’ve received their email, all they need to do is select which time slot they’d like and the appointment will then be automatically blocked out in your calendar.

How to get started

TimeTrade offers a 1 month free trial so you can test the waters before committing. After that, TimeTrade is only free for 5 appointments per month or there are various versions you can sign up to. Prices start at $49 per year.

To get going simply sign up for an initial free account and then connect your calendar to begin scheduling.

3.  Freshbooks

Freshbooks enables you to track the time you spend on projects – highly useful if time is a big factor when setting your price. Here are some examples of how your micro business could benefit from this tool.

Easy to use time tracker for accurate records

If you’ve ever had one of those moments when you’re juggling several clients at the same time (each with various projects/launches/ever-so important events on the go), then Freshbooks is a fantastic way to keep track of how much time you’re spending on all the different tasks so you have an accurate record. With an easy to use time tracker, you can record the time you use down to the minute. FreshBooks is also on a cloud, so you can be anywhere in the world and still access the system.

Integrated invoicing system

The excellent invoicing feature on FreshBooks, makes billing people super easy and ensures you have a constant record of completed and outstanding payments. With a click of the button you can quickly produce invoices for particular clients which then pulls through all the information you’ve collected via your time tracker. You can also record expenses on FreshBooks which can be added to the invoice along with any other edits you may want to make. Overall a very user friendly system that can save you lots of time.

How to get started

FreshBooks is free to use for up to 3 clients so it’s particularly good if you’re just getting started in your business or perhaps work with the same people on a regular basis.

Once you have more than 3 clients then the monthly cost is $19.95 per month. Personally I think it’s a great investment – particularly if you are juggling lots of clients and projects at the same time. I use it for my own work and wouldn’t be without it.

Over to you

How do you manage your calendar? What tools, apps or techniques do you use to stay on track without wasting your time? Please let me know in the comments below.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Does your calendar management need a little TLC? Which of these powerful tools could you use in your micro business to help you get more organised and save your time? Spend some time today figuring it out.

Kathryn Hall

Kathryn is a Virtual Assistant with over 10 years administrative experience. Running My Virtual Sidekick, she specialises in giving female solopreneurs the freedom to ditch the admin so they can focus on the creative aspects of running a business.