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Time Blocking or Project Management Schedule?

The word "TODAY" written in vintage ink stained wooden letterpress type in a partitioned printer's drawer.

Time blocking is a process of scheduling. It functions more like project management schedule because you are blocking and scheduling for multiple projects. When you get started, don’t expect perfection, perfection is in the process and the resulting progress.

By starting the practice of time blocking or project management you will add the structure that you need to ensure that you are capturing all the important areas that move you forward in these projects. In project management, they call it the critical path.

I recognize you might not be a big fan of project planning and might find that it reduces your flexibility and creativity. I had the same situation with a magazine owner who didn’t like to plan but she constantly felt overwhelmed at the various different hats that she wore in the business and all the projects she had to manage. She was typically stressed out in getting the magazine ready for publication every month.

She used non-technical project management scheduling tools and structures to start the process of evaluating her capacity and the capacity of her team by breaking down the projects into time blocks ensuring that she had time allocated for each of the important areas of her business. When using project management scheduling software such as Zoho projects, Asana or more sophisticated tools such as Microsoft project or Primavera P6 , these tools help you with visual Gant and Pert charts as well as other visuals to see where capacity is at its max and other resources need to be allocated to get the work completed. By breaking the work down into groups of tasks, you are able to set priorities and work streams and allocate different resources to run parallel work streams.

One of the work streams that we added was 30 minutes three times a week was for customer loyalty. She had overlooked this very important category entirely and found herself struggling to get new advertisers for the magazine on a regular basis because she didn’t spend enough time working with the customers that she already had. By allocating this time and putting together a plan of touch points with her existing customers, she was able to go from over 50% attrition to less than 10%. That gave her a lot more time to focus on other areas of the business, any time spent on finding new advertisers only added to the profit of the bottom-line.

Time Blocking: Time Well Spent

Time blocking or project management schedule will ensure that you are spending time specifically allocated to the project areas that make your business grow and make you feel in control and productive.   If you don’t put some planning into it, it won’t happen at the rate you want or expect if it happens at all. Work your business like a project manager and get results.

Use this 7 Step process to effectively block and align your tasks and goals. It forces you to connect your goals and planned actions to your project management schedule. It forces you to evaluate what is possible before you start versus taking on too much and then getting stuck in overwhelm or overload. 

You can continue doing it your way, but you are here for a reason, You are looking for a better way. If I could show you a way to reduce stress, frustration and feel in control of your time resulting in more profits in every area of your life, would you listen? Would you do what I am telling you? You might need support. Look for a system and/or accountability partner.  

As you get started in the acclimation period, your time blocking worksheet is a starting point of the implementation. If you are not a trained project manager, building these skills and habits will take time. We humans, are notorious for poorly estimating how long things take. I had a developer who wired for me and I thought it was great how quickly and clear he was about providing me with a 300 hour estimate. Little did I know the next project presented to him also had a 300 hour estimate and the project thereafter. I came to realize that was a safe number of him so he just used it every time. Not a great method for me when I am making fixed price bids and need a more accurate estimate of how long the project would take. When we break it down into the larger deliverables, we are able to get a more accurate forecast and schedule the project.

Using this method of time blocking you will start to recognize how much time your activities really take and enable you to accurately break down bigger projects and block those activities accurately in your project management schedule for the future. It may take a month or even two to get adjusted to the best and most efficient project management schedule, but what you will learn along the way will be invaluable.

This structure of managing your projects and your schedule will reduce overwhelmed, stressed, and wasted time.

Make a commitment this year end to block your time and manage your project management schedule.

 

3 Ways Templates Improve Productivity

PRODUCTIVITY - Red text on typography background - 3D rendered royalty free stock image. This image can be used for an online website banner ad or a print postcard.

Why waste time recreating the wheel, every time if you are doing repetitive tasks and responses? You are too busy to be wasting your time doing the same work over and over. Using templates is one of those time management tips from the best of the best. They create templates for emails, frequently asked questions, text messages, intake forms and more.

Of course, not all of what you are doing is repetitive but if you look closely there is a part of your work that does occur over and over. You have to invest some time to look for the patterns. Create templates will simplify your work process and enable you to spend more time on the more challenging parts of what you do.

A big reason templates improve productivity is because you do not have to keep creating the original skeleton. By creating a template it frees you to insert original information without worrying about the structure.

Here are some ways templates help you get more things done.

1.Reduces errors

Templates allow you to standardize the process. The Tip here is, if you standardize the process you or anyone else doing the same work is less likely to make errors. It provides a structure for you to put the information in, so it is less likely you will forget a step or leave important information out. Removing the need to remember what must be included leads to more accurate communication. For instance, If you send an email that is missing information the receiver has to request the missing information or attachment. sage.com says “A template’s standardization solves this issue because you will know that everything is completed.”

I have seen these productivity leaks that result from missed data transfer. It majorly slows down the order process. In addition, these back and forth clarifications cause major frustrations all parties in the back and forth. This is another productivity killer as this frustration eats away at motivation.

2. Increases speed

Speed is achieved through accurate and timely communication. Missed information is like a wrench in the system. It brings the system to a halt until it is fixed.

Also, Like data entry, the more you do an activity, the faster you become. Templates allow you to develop muscle memory, and in some way, function on auto-pilot. By training your muscles to press certain keys or check certain boxes, your productivity will increase significantly.

As you make more templates, you will also become faster at creating the original content for the template. These templates can be shared with your company, and a standardized system can be put into place, which will speed up replies and approvals.

Templates allow for more succinct messaging and even eliminating the need for text and simply offering a check box or circling an option available. The speed for order taking increases significantly from both the side of the person filling out the order and those that receive the order for processing. Simplify your templates and improve your speed and accuracy.

3. Boosts consistency

Throughout your company, each department may have different ways of presenting information. This can hinder your company’s reputation, communication and ability to send a consistent message. By using templates, your business will look, and sound, and function like a well-oiled machine. All parts working together.

Critical links, messages, and signatures can be easily found by clients, or other departments, because they will have a specific location on the page.

Proper Branding lets the company create an image and be seen as a cohesive whole across the organization despite the department.

Fewer words make for clearer communication. When your business has clearer communication you can negotiate deals, understand each other’s needs, increase morale, and work towards the same goals faster and easier.

Using templates are the best productivity tip for immediate results. Templates are an excellent way to save time by reducing repetitive work and streamlining your workflow. Creating templates is a time management skill you need to embrace.

Here are five great resources for every template you may need.

TextExpander

Use an abbreviation or quick search to insert paragraphs of text from a repository of text responses, emails, and other content, as you type.

Canva

Provides excellent templates for posters, Facebook covers, book covers, and business cards.

Templates Assistant

Excellent for free templates across various personal and professional topics.

The Muse

Excellent for resume templates. Ranging from free to $9.95.

Creativebloq

This blog will give you 25 fantastic website design templates.

Sitepoint

This website offers 40 links to many different templates to improve productivity. You can find templates for “project management, business planning, and projections, invoicing and other finances, presentations, marketing and sales, and personal organization”, says sitepoint.

Microsoft word

Microsoft Word comes with personal and business templates, ranging from notetaking, flyers, and brochures.

You can try templates with the following steps: File > New > “Describe the needed template” > Download.

You can also download some from the internet.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t create templates is they say they don’t have the time. You have to invest time now to save time in the long run. Why not use time boxing to box time, specifically schedule time dedicated to this task. This is also known as Time Blocking. If you don’t plan time for it, it won’t happen. Time boxing will create the space for what is important in the long run and help you be proactive in your time management and productivity efforts.

Good luck with your templates. When you implement them, you will discover all the ways they can increase productivity in your business.

 

Why I Use Productivity Apps For Scheduling And You Should Too

Productivity Apps for Scheduling

I believe in the personal touch with my clients, so it took me a long time to get away from scheduling my meetings personally with my clients. Until one client in particular changed my mind. I must have spent a whole hour of scheduling back and forth to find relevant dates and then the next day to be told those dates had to be changed and this often happened more than once. I was pulling out my hair with frustration (don’t worry-I have plenty) with the back and forth by email to find a date and then the hassle in rescheduling because inevitably they needed to reschedule yet again. It took this situation for me to see how inefficient this form of scheduling was and how much time and energy it was costing me. I put my foot down and changed my belief and my process. Why does it sometimes need to hit us hard in the head to get the message that the way we are doing things is outdated and not working?

mobile productivity apps

Time to turn my attention to scheduling аррѕ. After all they аrе the most fundamental productivity app for both fоr реrѕоnаl and business uѕе. I was ready to put them to good use. Keep in mind that many families use a scheduling app together as well to keep track of the entire families busy schedule and block some family time too. The benefits are far more than just the flexibility of scheduling; reminders, task lists, invitations, color coding for meeting types and much more.

Here іѕ a look at how scheduling apps hеlр ѕkуrосkеt уоur рrоduсtіvіtу:

Save Money and Reduce coordination

Some years bасk, many business рrоfеѕѕіоnаlѕ wоuld ѕubѕсrіbе to paying an assistance to manage thеіr hectic ѕсhеdulеѕ. But wіth thе аdvеnt of ѕmаrtрhоnе арр schedulers thаt functions with easy access and grеаtеr еffісіеnсу, thеre is really little need for an assistant to manage your schedule. This is clearly an area you can automate. In planning my radio shows, I found it to be much easier and efficient to have people book over an my scheduler, and they automatically received the thank you and preparation documents. Now you can invest that money in other tasks that can be delegated. Now find the right ѕсhеdulеr that fіtѕ уоu bеѕt, аnd уоu’rе on your way to greater productivity!

Fаѕt setup

You don’t need to be a PHD or have a computer science degree to set up your scheduler app. With you tube and the instructions provided this process can take as little as 10 minutes. So no excuses! You entеr уоur mаіl аddrеѕѕ, set the times you want to be available for others to be able to schedule with you and link it to your existing calendar so that if you block a time on your personal calendar it blocks this time on your scheduler app too.

Just a few simple steps, аnd уоur schedules, аrе well fіttеd in рlасе.

Keep in mind that you want to control this process. You may want to consider a time blocking plan first to be sure you are consciously controlling the blocks of time. The whole point of this process is to make your more productive not busier because everyone else is controlling your schedule. Set only certain times that others can book in your calendar.

Flеxіbіlіtу of Bооkіng

Booking арроintmеnts wіth your family, ѕtаff, сlіеnt and сuѕtоmеrѕ dоеѕn’t nееd tо be a nerve ending tаѕk as it was at one point for me. Productivity apps for scheduling multiple users make it easy to compare calendars and find a spot that works for everyone. This is a huge time saver and makes booking appointments for groups easy and fast.

Many of the scheduling apps also provide options so that you provide three options and you can select your preferred option.

Automation

Many scheduling systems have a built in functionality to assign a cost per time block so service professionals can save time and effort as clients book time, they will automatically be billed by the system. With further tools such as IFTT, you can automate this invoice to directly book into quickbooks or some other accounting system. A one time investment in the set up of these tools can automate your whole process to give you more time to do the things that are most important in growing your business rather than spent so much time administrating it.

Here are a few tор sсhеdulіng aррѕ to consider for different purposes

Keep in mind new apps are coming on the market all the time. Before selecting an app, identify what you want to do with the app, what interfaces with other apps are needed if any, so that you can evaluate the app based on your needs not based on the functionality of the app.

Personal Calendar Management

Any.do Cal

Cаl is thе prettiest арр оn thіѕ list оf fоur, fеаturіng соlоrful photo backgrounds іntеndеd to jazz up your boring calendar. Cаl’ѕ greatest ѕtrеngth іѕ showing оff уоur daily agenda — bаѕісаllу all of the to-dos, meetings, аnd appointments уоu get оn your рlаtе оn one given dаtе. When уоu lаunсh thе арр, іt аutоmаtісаllу jumps tо today’s аgеndа, whісh ѕhоwѕ all of уоur еvеntѕ and anу to-dо tаѕkѕ in a chronological order. Thіѕ is dіffеrеnt from оthеr саlеndаr apps, which ѕhоw an hourly timeline with blocks оf time shaded fоr each appointment. Cаl app wіll ѕurе spice up уоur schedules fоr thе bеѕt оf рrоduсtіvіtу еxреrіеnсе. Yоu can dоwnlоаd Cаl app frее on уоur аndrоіd and iPhone аррs stores.

Tempo Planner

tempoplanner

Thіѕ rесеntlу updated іOS саlеndаr seems simple аt fіrѕt glance, but thеrе’ѕ ѕоmеthіng bіggеr hарреnіng bеhіnd thе scenes. There is a greater intelligence to this tool.The app syncs with your calendars, lіkе еvеrу оthеr арр оn this list does, but it gоеѕ one step furthеr tо ѕуnс wіth уоur еmаіl too. It dоеѕ thаt tо fіnd аnd аdd rеlеvаnt conversations to уоur uрсоmіng еvеntѕ. In addition, it also enables you to create tracker cards and use this system as a time tracker. There is a greater intelligence in this app. For example, Tеmро uѕеѕ nаturаl lаnguаgе рrосеѕѕіng to hеlр you сrеаtе a nеw еvеnt. You don’t need to be precise, you саn enter іn “Lunch wіth Sаrаh tomorrow at 1рm” or “Pіlаtеѕ сlаѕѕ еvеrу Tuеѕdау аt 6рm” аnd Tеmро undеrѕtаndѕ what уоu mean. Thе арр wіll еvеn let you knоw іf thеrе’ѕ a conflict іn your schedules. Additional apps for project planning and more functionality for time tracking are also available.

SolCalendar

Alоngѕіdе thе tурісаl саlеndаr fеаturеѕ, including a monthly vіеw аnd an аgеndа, SolCalendar соmеѕ wіth tоnѕ оf еxtrаѕ tо help уоu рlаn уоur week or add some flair tо уоur events. Yоu can turn on weather reports tо ѕее thе сurrеnt and upcoming temperature аnd соndіtіоnѕ fоr thе nеxt wееk. There аrе ѕеvеrаl unіԛuе ѕtісkеr расkѕ іnсludеd (and mоrе thаt уоu саn dоwnlоаd) that уоu саn аdd to уоur еvеntѕ for a dоѕе of реrѕоnаlіtу. Lаѕtlу, thе арр саn ѕуnс wіth уоur Google tаѕkѕ аnd уоu саn сrеаtе new tо-dоѕ. This аndrоіd ѕсhеdulеr аlѕо uѕеѕ gestures tо nаvіgаtе, ѕо уоu dоn’t juѕt hаvе a ѕсhеdulеr thаt keeps уоur tаѕk in рlасе, but аlѕо undеrѕtаndѕ how you fееl.

Group scheduling

Doodle.com

If you don’t want to share your calendar but you just want to find an effective date that works for everyone a great free tool is doodle. I use this all the time for getting people together from various different groups or companies.

doodle

Service Businesses:

Acuity scheduling

This app can be your personal assistant only better. Booking appointments with prospects and clients is easy. They have real-time access to your availability and can select the dates and times that work best for them. I like the fact that the billing is integrated and cancellations are also able to be done automatically.

Time Trade

Time trade is a more scalable solution for more complete scheduling across locations and time zones. I used this system when working as a coach for Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins. This is a robust flexible system providing date options for me to approve and integrated wonderfully with my calendar system. It was much easier to update my available times than that of appointy.

Appointlet

I used this tool to manage my radio show guests and it worked like a charm. I set up the times available for this service and that was all that showed in their invitation. It provided an automatic thank you and a reminder before the upcoming event. Easy to set up and use. Great for small businesses with lead pages and seemless integration into your google or office calendars. Payment integration is also a time saving option.

Appointy

Appointy Logo

Appointy is a full service multiple user online service. It provides many options including the integration of invoicing for automation. The setting up of the calendar is a bit more cumbersome than other tools but once you get the hang of it, it works well.

To be more productive you have to look for ways to automate, delegate and eliminate. Productivity apps such as these schedulers are great automation tools to

Apps To Manage The Workforce:

Deputy

Great option for a web based solution. The app simplifies scheduling, tasks, employee communication all in one. Integration with payroll makes this tool a great automation for small companies to reduce administration.

I have not used this tool myself but it got some good ratings from others.

Shift Planning

Shift Planning logo

This is a great app for companies who are managing shift workers –like the name suggests. It offers extensive reporting, automatic conflict resolution and shift exchange management. This can be a huge time saver for shift-based companies or schedule related workforces.

That was my quick evaluation. Depending on your needs one productivity app might be better than the next. Sometimes you need to try it out and see how it is meeting your needs.

Share your favorites and why you use them to help those in the community find the right scheduling app for themselves.

Penny
http://tugof.tgcsitechecker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/penny.jpg 
Penny Zenker is a strategic business coach and trainer, boosting productivity for business leaders and entrepreneurs. She leverages her personal experiences of building up and later selling a multi-million dollar business, as a senior executive at one of the worlds largest market research companies and working with business leaders all over the world as a Tony Robbins Business Coach. Penny proven and practical approach help people to get results quickly.

Reduce Stress, Increase Productivity By Journaling

Thus far you have read several articles about ways in which to improve your productivity. I have yet another productivity tool to add to your arsenal. Some of you may be under the impression that journaling is only for angry, young teenage girls, but that is quite the contrary.  Journaling has many of benefits that you can use to improve productivity and improve the overall quality of your life.

The Benefits of Journaling

Therapeutic

Journaling dramatically reduces stress and negative energy. Through journaling you can release pent-up anger and other emotions or thoughts. Negative energy has an adverse effect on your productivity. You may still be thinking about how Jill again drank the last of the coffee and did not brew a fresh pot in the employee lounge, instead of your project.

Grounding & Improves Focus

Writing down your thoughts and feelings allows you to become more grounded and focused on any task that comes your way. You are better able to zero in (focus) on the best route to take to complete a task or project. 

Great for Visualization

Did you know you can conquer half of the battle in improving productivity by simply imagining your success? Journaling can help you visualize how you would like things to turn out.  It’s like a mental program for the brain. You place the order for success in your unconscious mind by visualizing and the conscious mind makes it happen.

Dumps Brain Clutter

Have you ever had one of those days where you could accomplish nothing because you were thinking about everything? Journaling helps you dump that brain clutter so that your mind will be clear and ready for the work ahead.

Ignites Creativity

Free-flow writing and journaling opens the door for massive creativity. This is proven to work even in people who do not believe themselves to be creative. Through journaling you are expressing and through expression comes inspiration.

Hones Your Problem-Solving Skills

Now that you dumped of all that clutter, your mind is better equipped to solve problems that may have been nagging you before. Journaling allows you focus on the solution rather than the problem itself.

Great Journaling Apps

Benefits of JournalingIf pen and paper aren’t your thing, try a journaling app that you can use on the go anytime, anywhere! 

  • Day One
  • My Wonderful Days
  • Askt
  • Heyday
  • Momento

There are dozens and dozens of Journaling apps available on the market.  Find one with features that best suit your lifestyle and needs.  You will begin to see immediate and drastic results from taking at least ten to fifteen minutes a day to journal.  Before you know it, the path to a more productive future will be well within your reach!

http://tugofwarwithtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/penny.jpg 
Penny Zenker is a strategic business coach and trainer, boosting productivity for business leaders and entrepreneurs. She leverages her personal experiences of building up and later selling a multi-million dollar business, as a senior executive at one of the worlds largest market research companies and working with business leaders all over the world as a Tony Robbins Business Coach. Penny proven and practical approach help people to get results quickly.

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