If you run a small business you know how difficult it can be to keep up. Heck, even if you run a large business or work for one, keeping up can be challenging. The following are three services I use to keep my head from spinning off my neck. Combined, they help me manage my email, calendar and time. They will help you, too.
How to manage your time
Wow, Outlook has come a long way. This slick app from your friends at Microsoft is the best email app I have found. It has many bells and whistles, but the killer feature for me is the ability to schedule messages to return to my inbox later.
Let's say I get an email today from someone who doesn't need a reply until next week. I simply slide the message to the right to schedule it to return. The default options are: in a few hours; this evening; tomorrow morning; choose a time.
This helps me keep my sanity and my inbox manageable. We all forget to reply to messages from time to time. Outlook reminds me, which is crucial when running your own business.
You can download it for free from your favorite app store. Plus, it works with all email clients.
Sunrise is a mobile and desktop application that manages my calendar. When someone wants to have a meeting with me, I open the Sunrise app on my iPhone (available for Android too) and select several dates using their creative keyboard tool. It temporarily turns your keyboard into your calendar.
I simply tap onto several blocks of time in the calendar that I am available. This instantly creates a link that I can include in a text message or email reply.
The recipient clicks the link and is presented with the times I am available. They click the time that works for them, and it is magically booked. I get an email confirmation that the meeting has been set.
You can download this free app from www.sunrise.am
I reserve chunks of time each week for my coaching clients and for informational coffee chats. I use Calendly to block these times on my calendar.
When you configure Calendly, you tell it when you are available. It syncs with your calendar, so if something else comes up, the time is no longer available. I have a couple of different Calendly calendars, so I send the correct link to my clients, so they can click it to see my calendar and to select a time that is most suitable for them.
When they book a time, I get an email notification. I then use Outlook to set that email to return to my inbox closer to our meeting time, so I can prepare and be ready for our call or coffee.
While Sunrise is better for on-the-fly scheduling, Calendly syncs with my calendar to show people when I am available on certain days. All I need to do is send them the specific link to my calendar and they can go ahead and book what works best for them.
You can set up your account at Calendly.com.
These three services help keep my busy life sane. The more time I save, the more I can focus it on serving my clients and preparing for new speaking engagements. I hope these help you, too.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessean newspaper. Photo by By Rodion Kutsaev from Unsplash.