A calendar app like Google Calendar can be a useful tool both for managing your time, and for improving business productivity by helping you gain a deeper perspective on how efficiently you spread yourself across your business operations.
Apps Should Work For You, You Shouldn’t Have To Work For Them!
Cloud-based business apps have been a boon for many small businesses, allowing us to use a variety of tools wherever we are, and giving us instant access to our business data.
In this regard, the Google Apps for Business suite of tools is particularly helpful. Core business apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive’s cloud-based document production and storage services allow small businesses to avoid the costs and management headaches involved with licensed software, and allow you to get on faster with income-generating work rather than managing administrative functions.
But if not managed well, apps can make you feel like you are working for them, rather than having them work for you!
Accessing your data and business intelligence from your mobile devices while on the move, and getting your apps to play well together and share information often requires some additional tweaking and settings adjustments.
These Google Calendar integration tips will help your apps talk to each other and get the information to wherever you need it.
Managing Your Time: Your Greatest Resource
CloudWork’s data integrations are essential to any savvy small business operator.
By linking data between various apps – for example, between Google Calendar and your preferred CRM app – you can reduce duplication and free up your time to get on with more income-generating work.
If you have confidence that all of your essential data is shared between the apps that need it, you can use Google Calendar to gain a global view of your time management and see which business tasks are the most important for future growth and income generation.
In any small business or consultancy, most of your time is taken up with:
- Cultivating client relationships (e.g. By attending client meetings)
- Carrying out client project activities (i.e. income-generating work)
- Managing your money and following up on unpaid client invoices.
CloudWork Integrations with Google Calendar
Let´s take a real life example.
Mary is an interior design consultant. She spends a lot of time out of the office sourcing unique homeware products for her clients, and often goes straight from her furniture shopping trips to client meetings. She has a small shopfront office but also works from home in the afternoons, when her kids get home from school.
Here is a pretty usual example of how Mary manages her schedule, and we have also listed how much time each task takes, on average:
- While out of the office, she receives a call from a client to set up a meeting.
- As she only has her personal smartphone with her which doesn’t have all her business apps on it, she makes a reminder note in Evernote about the date, time and location. (3 minutes)
- When she is back in the office, she adds the meeting details to her Google Calendar (2 minutes).
- She also makes a note in Zoho CRM, her CRM app, in case her business partner also ends up contacting the client (4 minutes).
- After the meeting, she records the meeting length in Toggl so she can see track how much time she is spending with this client (2 minutes), and also adds this to Google Calendar so she can track her time (2 minutes).
- Later, when she sends an email to the client to summarize their discussions, she quickly checks their last invoice to see if she should include a small reminder of any outstanding payments (4 minutes).
- Every Friday over coffee with her business partner, she looks back at her week and reviews what she has been doing. She also opens up Toggl to see how much time she spent with clients (8 minutes).
Data Integration Saves Time and Time = Money!
With CloudWork data integration, Mary can save about 12 minutes of her time on this one set of tasks alone. Imagine if she can save that much time with 4 clients a week: that’s around an hour she can spend on doing more billable work, making more money! Here’s how she saves her time:
By using the CloudWork integration to add an event in Google Calendar by creating a note in Evernote, Mary can be confident that her note will be added to her calendar instantly. This saves her 2 or 3 minutes – and avoids disrupting whatever she is doing in the office when she remembers there is a note to add to her calendar.
Mary avoids using Google Calendar on her mobile to allow some separation between her business and personal life, so having Evernote transfer her meeting details lets her keep her Google Calendar up to date without linking it to her mobile devices. (This also takes out the pain of forgetting occasionally to update your calendar and missing an important meeting.)
If Mary had previously set up streams for Google Calendar integrations with her CRM, once her event is added to Google Calendar, it is then also added to her preferred customer relationship management app.
At present, CloudWork will add a notation to any client record when a meeting is added in Google Calendar for the following apps:
This saves Mary about 4 minutes and also avoids confusion if her business partner happens to talk to the client in the meantime.
Mary bills by the hour, so she needs to keep accurate records of her client time. After her initial consultation, she includes client meetings as part of billable time. She uses Toggl to keep track of various client activities and usually updates her Google Calendar as well, so she can get a feel for how her time is spread across various projects during the week.
With the CloudWork Toggl integration steam, she can track Toggl time entries from Google Calendar. This saves her another 2 minutes, but more importantly, it gives her a visual overview of her time that she can assess at a glance, and see how to make changes to be more productive during her daily and weekly routines.
After a client meeting, Mary sends a quick email to her client listing the key discussion points. She usually goes to her FreshBooks app to see if there are any outstanding invoices and, if so, adds a gentle reminder in her email. If she had used the integration stream Track FreshBooks invoices from Google Calendar, this would take about 10 seconds rather than 4 minutes opening and swapping between apps.
But perhaps the biggest savings for Mary – or any business maximizing data integration and automating repetitive processes – comes from the chance to better plan and analyze how you are spending your time each week or month. By having all of this data integrated into Google Calendar, you can see at a glance how much of your time is spent on the work activities that make you money (client projects) and how much you spend on other aspects of your business.
More Google Calendar Tips
- Consider color-coding your time entries on Google Calendar so you can more easily use weekly or monthly view as a data visualization tool. Perhaps you can code different clients in different colors, or choose colors based on the type of activity you are doing:
- Green for income-earning/client work time (green for money or try black for being in the black!)
- Orange for marketing and promotional activities (orange is usually a color for communication)
- Blue for research and planning (blue-sky thinking)
- Red for deadlines and milestone dates (to alert you).
If you can see that a lot of your weekly time is spent on blue activities, you are probably dreaming too much and need to get back to the nuts and bolts of your work! If you have too many red entries, you need to lighten up a bit or you’ll stress yourself out!
- When looking to make changes to how you manage your time, make small adjustments rather than try and reinvent yourself totally if you see a problem. Start by adding the CloudWork integrations to automate tasks and see what difference that makes to your time and business focus. When you can see that this is freeing up your time, you can make more minor changes to improve your productivity week after week.
- The client email address is your most important business ‘get’ in this integrated world. When you add entries to Evernote and Google Calendar, your CRM knows which client record to append by matching the email address. In most cases, this is the only data you need in order to get Google Calendar talking with your other apps.
Do you have any Google Calendar tips to share? Which integration streams do you use in your business or would you like to use? Share in the comments below.
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