I was enjoying a wonderful meal with a friend and fellow business owner when he turned to me and said that I had screwed up his calendar for the past two years. I was shocked. His reason? Calendly. It turns out he set up an account without considering parameters around protecting his schedule. Now, people are able to schedule meetings with him whenever they want, and his calendar is always booked. Being booked solid is not the worst problem to have when you are a building a business. Even so, it’s good to have control over it so you have time to focus on building the business.
I immediately knew what the solution was for his calendar dilemma: organization and planning up front. Technology is a great asset, but we all need processes for how we use it. I have been using an ai enabled app (x.ai) to automate my scheduling for the past four years. Here are three keys to using scheduling automations:
- Block out times that are sacred for you where you don’t take meetings.
This may be during the morning hours for your meditation, journaling, priority projects, or other personal practices. You may have specific days for focus on high priority projects. Or, it may be evening hours when you’re busy with your family. Whatever you need to do in your daily life to be your best self, schedule it in. Even if your plans aren’t set in stone, it’s safer to block out the time now and reopen it later if your plans fall through.
- Understand how your tool honors your blocked-out times.
Many automated scheduling tools will allow you to set days and timeframes for when you are available to take meetings. Schedule automation tools are typically set up to integrate with your calendar and will not schedule over times that are marked as busy. When you are blocking out time make sure that the time blocks are marked as busy rather than free so that the “bot” knows when you are not available. I often plan my week on Sunday evenings and look at what I need to accomplish for the week and block out time for it. Certain days are reserved for strategic internal work and others are open for meetings.
- Keep your promises to yourself to focus.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with tip #1. It’s easy to put your needs and priorities and personal needs aside in favor of your work. We’ve all done it, but that never helps anybody. If you fail to keep your promises to yourself to focus and spend time on your priorities and personal needs, you’ll get burnt out. That doesn’t only hurt you; it also hurts your clients and your business, because you won’t be able to be the best version of yourself for anyone. Go ahead and schedule that work out. Make time to focus on the things that are important to you and your business.
Even if you’re already a scheduling pro, I bet there is still an area of your life involving technology that you struggle with. Don’t worry! You’re not alone. Technology is changing faster than it ever has before, and it’s never going to slow down.
It’s vital that you stay on top of new technology, shifting trends, and disruptive changes so you are not left behind. However, I know it’s easy to get stuck or overwhelmed by the constant flood of new information coming in every day. If you want tips on how to stay on top of tech trends, step into the TomorrowZone® here.