Today we are focusing in on one of my all-time favorite business tools...and it may seem a little underwhelming when I say it....Gmail and Google Calendar! I'm excited to share three great hacks that our team has come up with to make these super simple programs work harder for you and your business.
1) Google Calendar Hack: Color Coding
One little thing that makes a BIG impact in our calendars is color coding. I'll color code within a single calendar to let me know at a glance what types of things things are happening in my day or week. If I have a confirmed meeting or appointment with a client, team member, or even say, a haircut, I'll change the appointment color to yellow.
For tentative appointments, I'll change the color to blue. For example, if I’m trying to schedule a meeting with a client, I (or Sydney) might send them three dates and times, then I'll put them in my calendar as, “Hold for Susan”. I'll then have three blocks or “holds” within my calendar at different times in blue. This way, if something important comes up that conflicts with an event that’s blue, I know this isn’t confirmed yet and I have the option to schedule something else there if needed.
I'll also schedule in driving time or buffer time between appointments so I don't accidentally book them back to back without enough time to get to the next place.
2) Google Calendar Hack: Utilize Scheduling Software
Our design firm utilizes Wix as our website provider, and we have our site linked up to a booking app so people can book phone calls or appointments with us. This application is linked directly to our google calendar, so if there is a time available, a client can book a call. This is a HUGE time saver, but it can also get a little out of wack if you don't have a system for managing the times they are able to book.
A little hack I've come up with: if I know I don’t want a client to be able to book at a certain time for whatever reason, I'll block out a chunk of time and placing a “.” on the subject line of the appointment. This way, it’s not labeled as an actual activity for that time, but it blocks that slot out on my calendar so nobody can book an appointment during that time frame.
3) Gmail Hack: Utilize the Template Feature
A newish Gmail feature that I'm EXTRA excited about is the ability to create "canned responses" or template emails that you can save right inside your account! Before Google introduced this function, we'd just save our template emails as drafts, and then we would have to search for them, copy them into a new email, readjust, and then—finally!—send it. But now you can create templates that are easily accessible right within the composer.
You simply write your desired template within the composer, click the three dots in the bottom right of the composer, click "templates", "save draft as template", and then "save as new template".
When you need to utilize the template, you click those same three dots, click "templates", and you'll see your saved templates listed. How cool is that? Talk about a TIME SAVER!
At Designers Who Mean Business, we love templates! For every stage of the process, we have a templated email so we don't have to rewrite the same emails all the time. I can spend hours writing an email because I want to get it just right. Now, I spend hours getting my template just right, and I can use it again and again!
SO—I would love to hear if you guys are Gmail or Google Calendar users! Do you have any tips or shortcuts you have come up with? If so, we'd love to hear about them! Share in the comments below!
And if you haven't, go download my Top 9 Interior Design Business Resources, created just for you!
Talk soon, friends!