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Email Management Tips and How to Organise Your Inbox

Email Management Tips and How to Organise Your Inbox

One of the most overwhelming aspects of working life is the constant battle against the email mountain. We get so many messages in our inboxes every day that it can feel like a full-time job just to read them, answer them and undertake any action points. Add to that the junk mail that clutters our inboxes and it is a wonder we get any work done. The good news is that it is possible to take control. We have created some tips for email management and information on how to organise your inbox. Keep reading to find out more.

 

Where to Start With Organising Your Inbox

If you are faced with that constant counter at the bottom of your screen, showing that you have hundreds, possibly thousands of unread emails, you need to organise your inbox before you can move onto the next stage of email management. This is where you need to get brutal:

  • Organise your emails by sender and search for those senders that you know you don’t need to keep emails from. It could be notifications from Facebook, mailing list messages from companies, reminders from the dentist or anything else. Highlight all of the emails from these unimportant senders and hit DELETE. You should have eaten into your unread emails in style now.
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  • Now sort by date and check how old the earliest emails are. Think to yourself, ‘when was the last time I did anything with an email that was more than a year old?’ If you cannot remember, chances are you can delete anything older than a year without missing out on anything. Now change that to six months, then four months, then shorten the timeframe until you reach one that you feel you might revisit sometime soon.
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  • Now go through the remaining emails and put those that you need to keep into folders. If you use GMail, you can tag them. Outlook provides categorizing, all of which make it easier to find those emails you actually need in the future.
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  • Delete anything you do not need.

 
This is how you organise your inbox. Now you have defeated that dragon, you are ready for the tips for email management going forwards.

 

Email Management Tips and How to Organise Your Inbox Click To Tweet

 

Tips for Email Management

 

1)   Set Aside Time to Process Emails

Emails are not there to run your life. They are an aid to business, but they are not your job. It is easy to be partway through a task, spot an email notification and get pulled onto something else. This breaks your focus on the previous job and means that you are half-heartedly working on two tasks, rather than devoting your concentration to a single task at a time.

So, you should be aware of important messages that are time-critical, but anything else you should ignore until your designated processing time. Give yourself a window and anything you do not process in that time has to wait until the next day. This helps in your diary management efforts too.

 

2)   Prioritise Your Emails

Not all emails are created equally. Some are hugely important and some are definitely not. When you process your emails, you can get a good idea straight away of which camp each message falls into.

Tackle the most important first and then work down in your email management process. That way, it isn’t too much trouble if you run out of time to process an unimportant email because you have sorted those that really matter.

 

Email Management Tips and How to Organise Your Inbox Supportal

 

3)   Unsubscribe

We are all guilty of signing up for too many newsletters. Between influencers and your favourite retailers, your inbox can quickly fill up with mailouts. Part of email management is to stop the stream of distractions coming in, so set aside an hour or two for an unsubscribe session is time well spent. If you rarely read it, it doesn’t help your working life and it doesn’t offer any kind of joy, take yourself off that list.

 

4)   Use Email Rules

We love automation here. It is essential to every modern business to ensure we can work smarter and save ourselves time. This is why we also love email rules. With Gmail, Outlook and all sorts of other programs, you can set rules that automatically file emails into folders as they come in.

Set the rules to filter those with certain phrases in them, from certain senders or any other way of organising them. It all depends on what will help you in the future when you come to seek out the information they provide.

Keep all emails from each client in separate folders, or any messages that relate to a certain project. It is up to you how you organise your inbox, but take advantage of rules to stop your email from becoming a mountain again.

 

5)   Use the Calendar to Track Email Replies

Some emails require just a single line reply. Others need a more in-depth approach. For those, you cannot dispense within seconds, set a reminder in your calendar with a deadline for when you need to reply. This means you don’t forget to take action.

An alternative is to add each important email to your project management software. You can create a task in apps like Asana with a due date to remind you to reply in good time.

 

Email Management Tips and How to Organise Your Inbox Click To Tweet

 

Need More Email Management Help?

If the thought of email management still fills you with cold dread, you can delegate your inbox duties to a virtual assistant. We can organise your inbox on your behalf and maintain your email organisation going forwards, so you know all the important information you need to know and don’t have to deal with the thousands of irrelevant messages that could otherwise build up.

Book a free consultation today to find out how we can help you.

 

 

How to Create a Content Calendar in Asana

How to Create a Content Calendar in Asana

Asana is our go-to management tool for all aspects of our business. We use it for organising our work with clients, including creating and maintaining a content calendar for each business for whom we supply blogs and social media content. We also use it to organise our own editorial strategy too! This is why we have put together this guide to creating a content calendar in Asana.

If you are new to Asana, there are three pricing options. They are the free Basic plan, as well as the Premium and Business tiers. The great news is that, if you are just starting up, you can find much of the functionality you need on the free version. Whatever subscription level you choose, you will be able to create a content calendar using this guide. Keep reading to find out more.

 

Why Have a Content Calendar?

There are many benefits to having a content calendar. They include:

  • Helping you post regularly – For blogs, this means that your websites are more attractive to search engines, as they have more content to index. With social media, posting regularly keeps followers engaged and helps to build your accounts more quickly.
  • Keeping you relevant – When you write a blog or create a social post on the hoof, there is a tendency to just jot anything down to fill the space. If you have a content plan, you can create a post that fits in with your strategy and targets the right audience.
  • Saving you time – Rather than taking half an hour to think of a blog topic before you start writing, you can pick from the ideas that you have already listed and scheduled in your content calendar.

Content calendars are great tools for helping with time management. By jotting down ideas as they come to you and setting aside time each week or month to shape those suggestions into great post concepts, you can ensure there is a constant and consistent flow of content running through your channels.

For more tips on mastering your time, sign up for our free five-day email course. It provides advice that you can put into action straight away to help you save time and work smart.

 

Steps to Create a Content Calendar in Asana

 

1)   Build Your Outline

Asana is pretty flexible and you have a few options available when you are looking to structure your content. You can:

  • Use a pre-prepared content calendar template from Asana
  • Import an existing content calendar spreadsheet into Asana
  • Build your own editorial calendar layout from scratch.

For our calendars, we create sections entitled Ideas, Drafts, Review, Scheduled and Published. You can view these most easily using the List or Board views, and it gives you an overview of where each piece of content is in the workflow.

Board Views:

How to Create a Content Calendar in Asana Supportal

Your ideal workflow might work differently from ours, but the concept of moving the content through a process is pretty much the same however you choose to categorise the journey of your posts.

 

2)   Populate Your Calendar with ideas

For our editorial calendar, we add anything that we think of that might fit our goals and most importantly, the interests of our audience. This is a compilation of ideas found whilst browsing social, listening to podcasts, team suggestions, re-purposed content etc, inspiration can literally strike from anywhere. These are listed in the ideas section as a separate task with a clear title so is easy to grasp what the post idea is about. Once a month, when we get our head down, knuckle down and plan our content, we first look to see which ideas resonate with our goal and audience.

You can make notes in the description when you add an idea, or you can create a specific template like we do for each piece of content.

Within our blog post template (as an example) we set out the topic, aim and call-to-action that we will use in the post using the Description section as well as any supporting links, attachments etc, then we set subtasks to plot how we will turn the idea into a live post. For a blog, this would include:

  1. Research topic idea
  2. Create first draft
  3. Source stock/brand images
  4. Create social graphics
  5. Schedule on website
  6. Pin to Pinterest
  7. Post on LinkedIn articles

The paid plan of Asana allows you to create task templates saving you time and keeping things consistent.

How to Create a Content Calendar in Asana Supportal

 

TIP for FREE USERS – Save time by creating your own task template for each type of content. Do this by creating a task in your calendar called ‘TEMPLATE FOR BLOG’, for example. In future, rather than building a new blog task from scratch, go to the template task, tap the three dots and click ‘Duplicate task’. Then you can edit it accordingly.

Once an idea is approved and we know we want to work with it, we move it into the drafts section so we know it needs to be worked on.

 

3) Assign Tasks and Deadlines

If you work with a team, you can assign the subtasks to the relevant person and set their deadline to ensure that their contribution to the blog is completed on time. This will appear on their home screen under My Tasks, with the due date highlighted.

You can set the publishing date for the main task too, this will appear in the Calendar view to help you visualise when your posts will go live. This allows you to ensure an even spread of content over time, avoid any clashes and prevent any quiet periods.

 

Calendar view of scheduled content:
How to Create a Content Calendar in Asana Supportal

TIP for paid plan – Use task dependencies to make sure the workflow happens in the correct order. These block subtasks until the previous step has been completed. From the subtask, you simply hit ‘Add dependencies’ and you can designate either which subtasks it is blocked by or which other subtasks it blocks.

 

4) Use Custom Fields

Custom fields are like tags for each task. They show up in your list, board and calendar views to let you easily spot relevant information about that task.

We use custom tags to show the type of content it relates to (blog, social post, video, podcast, infographic etc.), the content stage it has reached (drafted, in review, ready to publish etc.), the topic (productivity, promotion, online marketing etc.) and, for our clients’ content calendars, whether or not they have approved it to go live.

The fields you use for the type of content are great for helping make sure you have a good content mix ready for publication. What’s even better is you can colour code everything!

 

5) Move the Tasks Through the Workflow

As your team completes the different sections required for the post, you can move them through the different sections of the board accordingly (i.e ready for review, scheduled etc). This way, you know where you stand with meeting your deadlines and keeping the production of content flowing.

TIP for paid users – You can create automated rules. For example:

  • When our content writer has completed a draft, they would update the custom field status to ‘ready to review’ when this happens Asana automatically moves this to the board ‘in review’.
  • When the content has been approved the relevant person would update the custom field to ‘ready to schedule’ allowing the content to be scheduled by our Virtual Assistant. Once marked as ‘scheduled’ Asana moves this task to the ‘scheduled board’.

 

Tips for Using a Content Calendar in Asana

  • Use content pillars to help you generate ideas. These are the topics you most often talk about and on which you want to be seen as an authority. Maybe use a single pillar as a theme for all your posts in one month, with the posts from the next month all relating to another pillar. If you are holding a particular promotion one month, you might choose this as your theme for that month instead.
  • Try to make your content timely and relevant to trends and events, but also generate evergreen ideas too. These are topics that can be used all year round and you can fit these in whenever you have a gap in your editorial calendar. Keep them safe in one place, ready to be plucked out when you need them.
  • If you don’t have the time or skillset to dedicate to running a content calendar in Asana, you can outsource it to a virtual assistant. This is one of the many tasks we can take on to help you maximise the power of your content in order to drive more conversions.

 

Time to Sort Your Content Calendar in Asana

We hope this inspires you to produce a more streamlined and effective content calendar using this fantastic Asana. For weekly marketing & organising, tips, sign up to our mailing list today.

 

 

 

Why Is Time Management Important when running a business?

Why Is Time Management Important when running a business?

Managing your time is important – we know, you hear that a lot, but it is 100% a fact. The question you really want to know the answer to is why exactly is time management important and how will these skills help you become a better business owner and grow your business. Let’s take a closer look at time management and what it means for you.

 

I know time management is Important but what is it exactly?

Managing your time well rarely comes down to just one thing. Good time management is often a result of different factors working together – making to-do lists, planning ahead and prioritising tasks.

Looking at what you need to achieve and how much time you have to achieve it is the first step to good time management. Based on this information, you can then create a plan of what you need to do. You can break this down into smaller and more manageable tasks which can help to improve your time management.

 

Why is time management important?

There are several reasons that time management is important, including:

  • Relieve work stress: Managing your time well often means that you have decreased stress on a day to day basis. Lack of time management often leads to increased pressure as a result of leaving tasks until the last minute.
  • Increase your performance: Time management is important if you want to get things done efficiently and to a good standard. You can increase your performance and impress your clients by planning ahead and allowing yourself more time to do the tasks which you know may be more challenging than others.
  • You can’t get it back: Time is precious, and you can’t get it back once it’s gone. This is important if there are things you need to do by a certain deadline – the more time you waste, the more time you could have spent on completing an important task.

Time management is a valuable, impressive and useful skill to have, and everybody can benefit from improving it. Start by making a list of the outstanding tasks that you have to complete and allocating a set amount of time to each one. You can then break down your working day to ensure they are completed, allowing a little extra time for you.

 

Signs That You Need Better Time Management

Some people seem like they were born with great time management skills. Others aren’t so good at organising their time well throughout the day. We’ll look at some of the most common signs that you need to improve your time management skills.

 

You consistently fail to meet deadlines

Sometimes this isn’t the most obvious sign, particularly if you don’t have any big important deadlines. Perhaps you forget to respond to an email by the date you promised you would, or maybe you had to finish that document overnight because you couldn’t finish it by the end of the day in the office. Look out for the smaller deadlines that you might be missing – this could be a key to discovering you need to improve your time management.

 

You’re always stressed

If other colleagues or friends notice you’re more stressed, or you just feel as though you never get to take a break, you could need to look at different ways of managing your time. This could be re-prioritising and looking at the ways you could make more of your time, but it could also involve delegating more tasks to others, like a virtual assistant.

 

You’re worried about getting more tasks

This could also link to feeling stressed all the time, but if you’re starting to feel worried about more work coming your way, think about what you can do to finish other tasks earlier and feel more confident about new projects. Trying to avoid taking on any new work could mean that you become overwhelmed by current projects and lose all enjoyment in your work altogether.

 

You’ve lost sight of the overall goal

If you seem to be constantly working on small tasks and losing sight of the overall goal, it could be time to think about how you’re managing your time and what you could be doing better. It’s always good to have the right level of work so you can maintain a stream of strategic thinking above all the day to day.

 

You’re running out of steam

Feeling like you’re all out of energy before you even get started? Whether you’re at work or at home, you should have enough time to relax so that you don’t feel run down every day. This is a common sign that you’re lacking good time management, so if this sounds familiar, take a step back to reconsider.

 

5 simple time management tips that can make your life easier

 

Struggling to manage your time can feel awful. Whether you’re finding it difficult to complete everything at the weekend, or you’re failing to meet deadlines at work, there are small ways you can manage your time more effectively and have an easier life. Here are some of the simple ways you can start managing your time better.

 

Make a plan at the start of each day

Whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, and whether you have a list of twenty things or a list of one, it’s good to get into the habit of making a plan at the start of the day. If you have a colleague or team you work closely with, it could be a good idea to make it a routine habit. To avoid using up too much extra time by doing this, set a strict limit of five or ten minutes. Utilise your calendar so you know exactly how your day is going to look. Check out our diary management article covering everything you need to schedule for maximum productivity.

 

Be honest about how much work you can handle

Too many of us are worried that we’ll put our jobs in jeopardy by refusing to take on extra work. We’re worried about what other people might think, or whether it will make us look as though we can’t handle the job. However, it’s important to be honest with you – about how much you can handle but also about how much you’re capable of doing.

 

Keep an eye on the time

Can you believe it’s lunchtime already?!” Most of us have said or overheard something to this effect, showing just how common it is to lose track of time. Keeping an eye on the clock could be the key to helping you manage your time better and become more efficient.

 

Stop multitasking

While multitasking has been hailed as a great skill, and in many cases is very useful, sometimes it’s just not the right time for it. Multitasking could mean that you’re hardly ever focusing on just one task, which makes it much more likely that you’ll go off track or forget about something else entirely.

 

Recognise your distractions

Knowing what distracts you from your work is a great way to find out how you could make better use of your time. If you often get distracted by your phone, put it in a drawer or out of sight elsewhere. If other colleagues keep distracting you, don’t be afraid to say no or let them know that you’re working to a deadline.

 

The first step to better time management

We have created a 5 day course all-around time management available to you absolutely FREE. Here is what else you can expect:

Why Is Time Management Important when running a business? Supportal

Mastering your time – 25 Page E-Book

Get a better understanding of the importance of time management and how you can make the most of your time.

Mastering your time – Checklist
View or print this handy checklist so that you can check off each point. It is a summary of the entire guide but in actionable, bite-sized points so that you can successfully get through this mini-course.

4 D’s of Time Management
This guide will help you decide what action to take. This process will help increase productivity and will help you manage your time better.

What to Delegate – Worksheet
This worksheet will help you to start thinking about what to delegate. In the meantime, you can find out everything you need to know about outsourcing to a virtual assistant.

5 Bonus Time Management Tips
These will be sent daily via email sent daily, so keep an eye out.

 

FIND OUT MORE AND SIGN UP HERE!

 

 

10 Engaging Instagram Caption Ideas

10 Engaging Instagram Caption Ideas

Consistency is the key to building your Insta presence, so you can’t rest on your laurels. You need to have top class material ready to go. But it is not always that easy. When you are running a business, time to sit and think about how best to engage your social audience is a luxury. That is why we have developed these Instagram caption ideas that you can check in with for instant content suggestions.

Bookmark this page and make sure you visit every time you come to schedule your business Instagram posts.

 

10 Examples of Instagram Caption Ideas

 

Post a How-To

People follow you because you know what you are talking about. You are an expert in your field. Imparting your knowledge to your eager followers is one of the most important Instagram caption ideas.

Solve a problem for a follower who is already interested in your niche, look benevolent and wise, and encourage likes, comments and saves, all of which tell Insta that this post is one that should be shown high up in your followers’ feeds.

Check out our Canva clean and simple Instagram post templates. We’ve created the image template for you, you just need to add a couple of personal touches to make it yours. These are perfect for illustrating a ‘how to’ post.

 

Share a Quote

As well as presenting your own wisdom, sometimes it is good to profile someone else’s too. A quote from a respected figure with a pithy, memorable, and relatable statement that is relevant to your business can do wonders for your account. People love to share them. The more shares you receive, the better that looks in Insta’s algorithm and the more potential customers view your content.

As Instagram can be a place where credits are not always properly attributed, make sure the image for your caption features the quote, the name of the person who made it and your branding and even website address. That way, if people screenshot it or save it to their camera roll, you still get your company name out there.

There are a number of sites from which you can source quotations, including BrainyQuote.

 

Celebrate a National Day

There are national and international days to celebrate anything and everything. From World Teachers’ Day to Talk Like a Pirate Day, each has its own following and, crucially, hashtag. People will be searching for that on the day, so create your relevant Instagram caption to capture some of the search traffic during that 24-hour period (or even longer given the different time zones). It makes you seem topical and relevant to those who see your post and allows new people who don’t follow you yet to find out about what you do.

One great resource to use to find out all about the national days coming up, so you can plan your posts, is Days of the Year. They even list the relevant hashtags you can use in your posts too.

 

Ask Followers to Fill in the Blanks

Likes are great, but comments are even better for showing Instagram that you make engaging content worthy of being seen by the widest possible audience. One way to encourage comments is to ask followers to fill in the blanks in a statement. People just can’t resist adding their thoughts when you leave a tantalizing opportunity.

You could create a Canva image with the phrase “The best item on a full English breakfast is ___________” and then see what people suggest, for example. The idea is to spark debate amongst your followers, who will all be convinced that their opinion is correct, and others are misguided. You can have a lot of fun with this in the comments.

 

Show Behind the Scenes

It’s a well-used phrase, but ‘people buy from people’. Yes, your brand and branding are important, but it is worthwhile reminding followers that there is a human being behind the business.

Connect with followers by sharing a funny, inspiring, unusual, or interesting story about your life and they will instantly feel more able to relate to you and what you are doing. This is key when it comes to making spending decisions. If they feel that connection, they could well be more inclined to use your organisation.

When scheduling your social media, make sure you let your fans glimpse behind the curtain once in a while.

 

Profile Your Inspiration

Every idea came from a moment of inspiration and your followers will be keen to see what inspires you to do what you do. Whether it is the person in your field who you look up to, a mood board of concepts that informed a product or merely the problem that you needed to solve that led to the creation of your business.

Show this off in an Insta image and use some storytelling in your caption to capture the attention of your fans and take them on a journey through your thought processes. This is another great way of making that emotional connection between customer and company.

 

Either/Or

People love to give their opinions, so encourage that to help instigate more engagement in your comments. For example, asking whether they prefer TV shows or films is a simple one, as is asking whether followers prefer staying in or going out.

Offering opposing options guides people to take a side and defend their decision in an explanation in your comment section.

You could even have fun with this and try a ‘would you rather’ type post. These are more creative situations with two equally good or equally bad outcomes, which requires followers to really think about their answers and justify them. One example would be ‘would you rather have to sing everything you wanted to say or dance all of your movements?’ Try making the question relevant to your niche to keep things on brand.

 

Take Part in a Challenge

There are a host of challenges out there on Instagram. These are often month-long events where there is a prompt every day for a different post. For example, one day the prompt might be ‘tidy’, the next day ‘fun’, the next day ‘mysterious’, and so on. Your challenge is to find something that fits the prompt but also remains in the voice of your account.

The great thing is that it encourages you to post every day, which is great for engagement, challenges often have hashtags, so new people will find your posts, and you can turn them into an opportunity to show off a product or service that you want to sell.

You could even begin your own challenge and be a leader in the field!

 

Make an Announcement

Don’t be afraid to shout about your successes. People want to hear about them. They love hearing about good news, so share away!

It could be a major new project going live, a milestone that you have passed as a business or perhaps a post about your business charity efforts, Instagram is the place to do it. Instagram caption ideas don’t always have to be about other people, sometimes you should make yourself the star of the show.

 

Share Before and After Shots

Instagram is ideal for displaying transformations. It could be a home renovation, a haircut, Stacey Solomon’s Tap to Tidy efforts or anything else where there is a stark difference between the before and after shots. People love them and are keen to see what your business does in order to create that change.

It helps people envisage how they can change their lives and situation by using your company and that takes them one step closer to becoming a customer.

 

Turn These Instagram Caption Ideas into Reality

Turn these ten ideas into reality right now, by using our Instagram templates from Canva. There are 97 templates to work with in order to illustrate the captions that will engage your followers.

 

You can also try our done-for-you captions and graphics package, where all you need to do is copy and paste the captions we have generated into your Instagram app. These are available on a pay-as-you-go basis, depending on how many you need for your social media. Download them today.

 

10 Engaging Instagram Caption Ideas Supportal

 

 

Diary Management – What You Need To Schedule

Diary Management – What You Need To Schedule

At the heart of every business, helping it run smoothly and efficiently is good diary management. With deadlines, meetings, conferences, staff holidays and all manner of other appointments needing to be documented, it is vitally important that you have a system in place to keep your work diary up to date.

 

Why diary management is important

A work diary is essential for ensuring you complete every task at hand. If the information on forthcoming events is up-to-date in your Outlook or Google calendar, you know exactly what you have to do and when. A well-managed diary displays everything in one place, making it hugely preferable to trying to keep track of deadlines on a stack of post-it notes. We are much better at digesting the blocked-out timeframes than we are at reading through reams of texts. Your diary is not only a central resource for you but also for your teams too. They can see when you’re busy, when you’re free, when you’re on leave and when you have a major deadline lurking around the corner. This means they can plan their time accordingly so they are free when you are if they need to catch up.

 

Improves your customer services reputation

Sharing your diary also means you can improve your customer service. If a potential client calls when you are out of the office, a team member can confidently book a convenient time for a meeting between you and the customer, providing a slick and impressive operation.

 

What to schedule in your work diary

Multiple possible dates

Good diary management means keeping appointments updated as soon as you discover the details. If a client offers multiple possible dates for a meeting, book the time out for each option. This means no one can double book you after you have responded to the customer with the dates that work for you. Once a final date is set, you can delete other options, freeing up your diary.

 

Include preparation time

Take time every week to review the entries on your calendar for the next seven days. You may have booked the time in for a meeting, phone call or job interview, but have you allowed time for the necessary prep work? If you have any action items, allow yourself time before the event to complete them and ensure you are prepared. Without this time in your diary, you could find yourself overrun with other jobs and go into events feeling like you are not as ready as you could be. It is also a good idea to take a moment to perform a quick review of your calendar every morning to ensure that the items you felt were priorities are still the most important tasks on your plate.

 

Add appointment locations

If the diary is well managed, you can utilise all manner of efficiency-boosting tactics. For example, if you have a meeting in a particular town already booked in, you can schedule appointments with nearby clients on the same day to prevent unnecessary travel. If your diary is not up-to-date, you might miss this quick win.

 

Your diary is not accurate without travel times

If you do travel for appointments, remember to bear this in mind when you block out the time. Always add your travelling time before and after the meeting or event. If you’re based in London but are attending a conference in Manchester at 2pm, your colleagues and clients need to know that you will not be available in the capital after 11am. If your diary is badly managed and only has you down as busy from 2pm, you could find yourself being committed to being in two places at the same time.   Always add your travelling time before and after the meeting or event. Click To Tweet

 

Schedule follow-up meetings

Scheduling a follow-up meeting as soon as you finish an initial appointment with a client helps you focus on delivering the action points. Invite all of the attendees so everyone can start planning their time in order to be able to update the group by that date. This helps keep the momentum going with the work that you discuss and allows you to organise your diary in the most effective manner.

 

Block out time to check your emails

Block out a chunk of time to spend working through your emails. This allows you to be free to get stuck into your other tasks without distractions at all other times. That ping that comes with a new mail can instantly break your train of thought when you are trying to concentrate on other jobs and you can easily forget where you were going if you stop, head to your email app, and read and reply to the message in the middle of a task. With a set time for dealing with emails, this diary management tip allows you to plough through them in one go and be free to dedicate yourself wholly to the important jobs of the day beyond that.

Diary Management - What You Need To Schedule Supportal

 

Create outlook reminders, always be prepared

Use the ‘Reminders’ function to stay ahead of deadlines. Discovering you have to complete a major report in a week’s time is far preferable to only remembering it needs to be in an hour before the cut-off time.

 

Add personal date reminders

You can also add in personal birthday and anniversary information, as these are the sorts of dates that can easily slip your mind when you are concentrating on making a success of your business. To manage the diary effectively, you can separate these items from the pressing work engagements, as well as distinguishing between meetings, courses, deadlines and other items by colour coding them. In need of some inspiration.

 

Only schedule necessary meetings

It is easy to fall into the habit of always scheduling a string of meetings for each project you work on, but when you look at your diary, do you really have time to block out for meetings on every single topic? The fact is that meetings are not always helpful. Sometimes they achieve great results, but sometimes you could have reached the same conclusion just by collaborating on a Google Doc. Ask yourself whether a meeting is really the best, most effective and efficient course of action to get the job done. Often diary management is about what not to schedule as well as what to schedule.

 

Schedule your peak productivity times

Every person has a different optimum time in the day when they are at their most productive. Some people know that it is just before dawn, while others find themselves energised after lunchtime snacks and drinks! If you know what time of day works best for getting things done at record speed without distractions from meetings or other obligations, schedule it and avoid meetings during this time. This is time to get ‘stuff’ done.

 

Track where your time is going 

You know what they say “time is money”. Save yourself some valuable minutes by using a time tracking tool! There are a few out there that will serve you well, we have personally used Clockify and Toggl. Using these digital tools helps manage and analyse your productivity. They let you see when and where all of those little distractions happen and where your time is going, which in turn helps improve your focus!

 

Good diary management starts with colour codes

Colour code using automatic conditional formatting

Conditional Formatting automatically colour codes your Outlook calendar items based on certain words you use, helping you to manage your diary. If you have Outlook 2007 or earlier, it’s called Automatic Formatting. Here’s how you use Conditional Formatting:

  1. From the Calendar window, use the ‘View’ tab and choose the ‘View Settings’ button in the group marked ‘Current View’. From there, choose ‘Conditional Formatting.
  2. Press ‘Add’ in order to create a new category of appointments.
  3. Pick a name for the category (eg. ‘Meeting’, ‘Training Course’ etc.)
  4. Select a colour for the category.
  5. Press ‘Condition’.
  6. On the ‘Appointments and Meetings’ tab enter the word you intend to use in the entry that will trigger the colour change. This will also probably be ‘Meeting’, ‘Training Course’ etc.
  7. Press ‘OK’.
  8. Repeat the process for each different category you wish to colour code.

Manually colour code outlook calendar items

You can also colour code your outlook items manually, as you input them into your diary.

Here’s how it works:

  1. From the Calendar view, right-click on an appointment.
  2. Hover over ‘Categorise’ until a choice of colours appears to the right.
  3. Select the colour you wish to use for the type of appointment.

 

FREEBIE: To help you implement our tips we have created a PDF giving you the steps you need to colour code your calendar with ease.

Diary Management - What You Need To Schedule Supportal

 

Get assistance with your diary management

When you’re juggling a million different tasks, it’s easy to forget about the management of your calendar. But this can result in missed appointments and lost time! That is why having an expert handle all aspects from start to end will make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Supportal can manage your diary on your behalf. Make sure you always hit deadlines, you know when team members are free, and that your calendar is easy to digest at all times. Contact us to find out how we can help make your business as efficient as possible through effective diary management.
 
 

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