Whoever coined the phrase, “Time is money” was right! Your time is important especially when you own and operate your own business. If you dive into each day without a plan, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Knowing exactly what you need to do each day and when you need to do those tasks will not only improve your productivity, but also your performance as a business too. There are many different types of online time management tools to choose from. However, I’ve found that Google calendar is the most user-friendly and effective tool to use for The Virtual Assistant Studio. Today, I’m sharing how to use Google calendar for time management and some tips and tricks to keep you organized.
If you’re interested in more productivity hacks, read this post!
As a virtual assistant, it’s important to manage your time effectively. Many businesses hire a virtual assistant because they just don’t have enough hours in the day to get all of their tasks completed. If someone is hiring and entrusting that you’ll get these tasks completed, then it’s vital that you follow through with that promise. That’s why it’s important to keep your tasks, meetings, Zoom calls and personal events organized. I’m breaking down my favorite features of Google calendar that keeps my business and my personal life organized and running smoothly.
Within Google calendar, you can select whether you want to add a task, event or reminder to your calendar. Last week on the blog, I talked a lot about how I love automating as much as I can in my business, like invoicing. Many of the tasks I automate are administrative tasks that are necessary. However, I don’t want my days consumed by those types of tasks. I want to focus on the tasks that are going to scale my business.
If you have recurring tasks that you need to complete, put those as reminders or tasks in your Google calendar. That way, you don’t forget them, and you can take those deadlines out of your head and place them on the Google calendar. If you have a recurrent event like a team huddle you do each week, set that as a recurring event instead having to create a new one each week. The goal is to have less stuff in your brain and more room for those creative thoughts!
I’m a big believer in scheduling out my day to keep me on-task and productive. I create a big-three list each day, and then fill in the rest of my day with other tasks. The big-three list is a list of three tasks that MUST get done that day. No ifs, ands or buts. They’re getting done. I determine how long each one of those tasks are going to take and schedule time blocks to work on each of those important tasks on my Google calendar.
For example, from 9-10 am, I may do one of those tasks. Then, I’ll complete the next task from 1-3 pm. And then finally finish the last task from 7-8 pm because I know I have other meetings and such to get to throughout the day also. Because I have those tasks blocked out on my calendar, it’s easier for me to get to them instead of saying, I’ll get to the next one as soon as I can. If I have them blocked out, I’ll sit down and do them.
I always recommend having a game plan for each work day. Whether you plan it out the night before or you’re able to plan out your whole week on Sunday nights, you must have a to-do list for each day. You can then request to receive a daily agenda sent to you via email. Then, the calendar pulls all the tasks and events you have that day. Go to settings, then click your name on the left under settings for my calendar. Go to other notifications and you’ll see the Daily Agenda field where you can switch the selection from None to Email.
Another Google calendar feature that’s helpful for small businesses is that it integrates with other programs not related to Google. If you go to settings, and click add-on, you can view which programs Google calendar integrates with. The Virtual Assistant Studio utilizes ClickUp to keep our team organized. Our team shares a calendar with each of our clients, and our clients input tasks into the calendar for each day that they need completed. It could be the blog post topic, certain LTK collages they need for each day or other tasks that we help our clients with. Then, that calendar lives in ClickUp, so we can reference it to schedule tasks to each of our team members.
Google calendar also integrates with Calendly and Zoom, which makes scheduling meetings a breeze. Instead of emailing a client or potential client back and forth to find a time to meet, you simply email them a Calendly link. The Calendly link will give the person appointment slots that you have available on your calendar. By linking up with your Google calendar, Calendly pulls the information straight from your Google calendar. The person chooses the time slot that best works for him or her, and the calendar event is automatically scheduled onto your calendar. You can adjust your event settings to your preference, such as max duration for a meeting. You can also select your working hours that you accept meetings within Google calendar settings.
In addition, if you utilize Zoom, the Calendly invite will automatically generate a Zoom link for each meeting, if you choose Zoom as your event location. The unique Zoom link is listed in the event details of your event.
Don’t forget, you can include Google docs, Google sheets and other programs that might be helpful into the event details.
Can we get an AMEN for not having to worry about time zones with Google calendar?! It’s hard enough trying to find a time slot that will work well for everyone. But then factor in different time zones, and it becomes an unsolvable Scrabble game. Luckily with Google calendar, time zones adapt to where you’re located. For example, if you create an event for 11 am CST and send an invite to someone in New York, it will appear as 1 pm EST on their calendar.
Google calendar even has a world clock feature. In the settings tab of your Google calendar account, you can select any time zone throughout the world under world clock. Then, that time zone will be listed on the side of your Google account. For example, let’s say you selected Mountain Time – Phoenix on the world clock and your located in central time. If you click on a 10 am slot on your Google calendar, it will show you what time it would be in Phoenix. That way, it’s easy to schedule meetings with team members across different time zones.
Work life is busy. But what about organizing the busyness of your personal life too? You can create a new calendar for personal use, and share it with other family members. Simple search their email address and add them to the calendar. I have a shared calendar with my husband for family events and tasks, for things like who’s picking up our son from school. If you have more than one Google calendar, you can assign color codes to them to help deviate them.
I love a good brand color. If you do too, you can even create custom colors for your different calendars. Simply click on the three dots next to the calendar color. Then, click the plus sign, and add the color hex code. 🙂
You can also choose to subscribe to an existing Google calendar. To do this, go to settings and then down to add calendars, click on subscribe to calendar. You’ll then search for the calendar you want to join by their email address. From there, you’ll be prompted to request access to the calendar you want to join.
Do you use an online time management tool? If so, which one? Let me know in the comments below!