As the year picks up speed and things get increasingly hectic, effective diary management is essential to ensure that everything is handled at the right time and nothing is missed. Without structure, you can end up missing tasks and events, rushing important jobs and seriously frustrating your clients and colleagues. Not only does this potentially drive away business, but you also could end up missing out on great opportunities to grow your business and attain more clients. As a trusted PA service, this is one of our most common tasks, however for those who aren’t quite ready to engage with us, we thought we’d share some of our top tips:
- Include everything
It may seem obvious, but make sure that you include everything that takes up your time in your diary. Many people make the mistake of listing only the business processes and meetings in a work calendar, but as the line between work and social lives is blurring, you need to keep one calendar, which lists everything and allows you to plan your day in one glance. This includes time with family, lunch with friends, gym time, travel days, doctor’s appointments and your child’s sports days. As soon as you plan something, note it down, regardless of whether it is work or personal. You can use different colours to differentiate between meetings or tasks to be completed within the organization, those that require travel, and your personal matters. However, ensure that the tasks you put in your diary are all confirmed.
- Allow extra time
Even when you try your best to be punctual, at times extending a task becomes inevitable. Your meeting may extend beyond the planned time or issues may arise when carrying out a task, forcing you to take a little bit longer. Therefore, in between each task, allow some extra time before the next task. This extra time will ensure that you get to the next task on time and that any disruptions do not derail your entire day. If you end up with a little extra time between tasks, you can use the extra time to prepare adequately for the next, or grab a coffee and some headspace between tasks.
- Make sure your diary is online
There’s something charming and reassuring about paper diaries and books – many people still like to have a physical document they can flick through on their desk. However, nowadays we all need something that can be conveniently accessed online and updated immediately from anywhere. Plus, an online diary allows you to edit your view to see appointments for the day, whole week, or month all on one page for quick and easy analysis.
- Share your diary
Your online diary/calendar can be easily shared with colleagues or family members, and between yourself and your PA and wider team to enable them to see when you are free and make appointments and reminders.
- Protect yourself
Whilst you want to be sharing your diary, you may not want to share your movements with absolutely everyone. Add a password to give yourself a little privacy, and only share this where you see fit.
- Add appointments immediately
Make sure your calendar is integrated with your email so that you can easily send meeting invitations and receive responses. When you confirm a meeting or event on the phone, add it immediately when you hang up, don’t leave it till later when other commitments may have arisen.
- Link your calendar to your boardroom/meeting room
Use your calendar and the team’s calendars to manage any shared meeting facilities you have and save yourself the embarrassment of having multiple meetings booked at the same time, and nowhere to hold them.
- Make use of reminders
Reminders ensure that you get to your appointment or get started on a task on time. Depending on the diary management solution that you are using, you can receive reminders by phone, email or a pop up on your computer. You can set your reminders days in advance or hours in advance depending on the nature of the task.
Managing a diary seems like such an easy task – not really even a task in its own right – but it is an essential success factor for every business owner and
entrepreneur and in order to be effective, it needs to be managed properly. Most successful business owners and managers trust this vital task to a PA in order to ensure it is effectively and efficiently managed. If you want to learn more about how we could do this for you, please do not hesitate to let us know.