5 Scheduling Tips For Better Calendar Management

scheduling tips - calendar on a tablet

Do you often feel unproductive despite coming to the office early, heading home late, and even working overtime on weekends? Every meeting, presentation, and deadline shows no progress? Catching yourself spending more time figuring out what your staff is doing, or when they’ll be free for a meeting, than you do getting the real work done?

If you relate to any of these, then it’s time to make a change! One of the most effective ways to level up your work life is to create a scheduling system or revamp your existing one. Free yourself from worries and allow your organization to run like a well-oiled machine! And that is our scheduling tips will help you achieve.

If you’re not sure what employee scheduling is, it is basically a process that allows you to plan your team’s workflow throughout the day each week, ultimately boosting you toward your career and project goals. At its most basic, you can think of scheduling as a list of the tasks to be done, along with the ‘where, when and by whom’. Sounds tedious, right? But modern employee scheduling software can make this scheduling process much more efficient, saving you time and headaches!

Ready to get started? Take a deep breath, prepare your calendar and clear your mind as we give you the best management tips for using scheduling to get lower labor costs and happier employees!

Why is Effective Scheduling Important?

small white clock

Effective scheduling is very important because it helps to maximize the most crucial unrenewable resource we are given – time. Some days we want to go home already, some days we wish for extra hours. But we are all given the same 24 hours – whether we like it or not. Our time each day is limited, but we cannot let it limit us.

If you’re already at your wits’ end handling your own calendar, there’s even more on your plate when you’re running a business. You need to schedule your staff’s tasks as well. Your staffing needs depend on the needs of your business at the time. The more employees you have, the more time you may end up coordinating everyone’s schedules!

But that’s exactly the opposite of what an effective schedule is supposed to do. Business scheduling doesn’t have to be a complicated and time-consuming process. By choosing the right scheduling tools, and applying them effectively, you can create a system where the to-do list gets done, and you can finally let go of the urge of burning down your entire office.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more ways that scheduling can help your business:

Increases productivity

Scheduling your time makes you more familiar with the task at hand, and strengthens your ‘why’ for doing it. It also helps you to understand each assignment 100%. This results in increased productivity because you are more focused, and gives you a better chance at getting your tasks done and done well.

In sales, for example, ScaleTime has developed an Effective Streamlined Sales Process that will assist you in closing more deals. Organize your proposals and sales leads, and reach new heights with this proven procedure.

Channels positive energy in the team

Is your team consistently burnt out? Are your members feeling lost or annoyed? If you have received a bunch of resignation letters lately, it may not be because of the work itself. You may want to check out the processes involved in doing it. So what’s the answer? Better scheduling, of course!

No solid scheduling equals confused team members which equates to a chaotic working environment. Everyone is asking one another what to do next and this creates an awkward, messy workplace. Learn what structured scheduling system motivates your team. Discover ways to make them happy to work WITH you, not FOR you.

video meeting on a laptob

With the pandemic giving way to a new work system, the flextime schedule is now the gold standard as compared to the previous nine-to-five workdays. An increased number of employees are now working from home, working from their own space while tending to their personal and family life. This non-traditional working schedule gives them more control, empowerment, and enjoyment, which brings positive vibes to the team.

Improves long-term process

Planning your time does not delay your future – it pushes you towards it. There are moments where taking time to plan and set up your system is not actually the most effective use of your time. Scheduling may seem like an added weight on your shoulders at the moment, but it’s an investment that will have whopping returns down the road.

Think about training new team leaders: It may seem unimportant right now, but once you have a team of capable staff to turn to, suddenly there is more time for you to focus on other important tasks. Tedious jobs are often the most worthwhile.

With time management, the key is to look at effective scheduling in the bigger picture. Try stepping back and ask yourself. What will be the result of this complex system we are putting in place? If this system is carried out, what will I get from it later? This way, managing time will be a mirror of the vision you are trying to achieve for the entire organization.

How Do You Schedule Time?

Know your available time and honor it

a man look at his watch behind a laptob

You are not available to work 24/7. You’re only human, and you can only be free for a certain number of hours per day. A smart schedule takes this into account. One of the first steps is to set up an allocated number of hours you’re able to work depending on the goals you wish to achieve.

If you have other things going on outside of work, for example, then normal working hours will be enough for you. If you are dreaming of a promotion, then you may want to put more time into your work as an investment. Be realistic: multitasking your work and personal life can send distracting signals to your brain, causing you to produce low-quality outputs.

Ensure you honor the available time you specified during the making of your schedule. Be early when possible. If your deadline is on the 10th, work as though it’s the 9th. If you are set for an appointment at 1 pm, be there at 12:50.

List priority and non-priority tasks

Once you have set your working hours, start filling up your schedule. Start with the activities on your high-priority list. These should be part of your main duties and responsibilities to complete before anything else. If you manage inventory, for example, then your priority tasks could include creating records of the supplies, updating stock, and ensuring you have enough reserve.

marking notes off in the diary

Now that you’ve listed the high-priorities, add in your back-burner tasks. One of the most important scheduling techniques is to put them on your list and schedule in advance. Back-burner tasks aren’t necessarily urgent, but if they’re not done, may affect your whole system. Paying your telephone bill or cleaning your car are low-priority tasks but should be done anyway. Even onboarding new clients, no matter how repetitive it is, is an essential task.

To manage time more efficiently, we created this Client Onboarding Process for you to give your clients a proper welcome, keep your communication up, and make them feel that they are taken care of. When you’re done with ‘organizational socialization,’ learn how to effectively manage your clients to avoid last-minute changes, miscommunication, and even project abandonment. Check it out HERE.

Block your buffer

Buffer time, or contingency time, is based on the anticipated pauses you may have on a regular workday. This gives you the wiggle room to deal with sudden events. Some jobs will have more ‘surprises’ than others. Allocate the appropriate amount of time according to the nature of your work.

Another important tip not only for managing your time but handling life as mature adults too: learning when to say no. Contingency time or not, having power over your schedule means working only within your given time frame. If you’ve already accepted a task but your workday is full, then it is important to get your time back rather than rushing through all the tasks to get everything completed.

Have small breaks throughout the day

Ahh, the best part of scheduling – breaks. No matter what anyone says, breaks are important to refocus and recharge. This cuts down stress and exhaustion, reduces early out from work, and restores the team’s overall game.

Small breaks are meant to refresh, not divert your attention from doing your job. Remove the temptation to procrastinate or browse social media. Encourage your team to use their breaks to move their bodies, reconnect with their colleagues, or clear their minds.

lady lays her head on the laptop

Note that most employees appreciate an official “wrap up” when a project is finished to talk about what worked and what could have been better. Consider a scheduled group celebration after the debriefing, a decision that can foster teamwork and let members relax and have fun at the same time.

Plan your week

Now that you have created your daily work schedule, turn it up a notch by scheduling other days into your calendar in advance. Weekly planning frees you from composing nightly to-do’s for the next day and will also help you meet deadlines thoroughly.

Looking at your energy levels is also an important part of weekly planning. If you’re more active at night, for example, you might need to factor that into your daily and weekly routines. This is a step closer to assuring you’re on track with what you are trying to achieve in the long term.

Another way to become an effective scheduler is to implement weekly staff meetings that go for 30 minutes to an hour tops. Scheduling meetings keep your team members’ attention, highlights key points, and gives way to doing the task itself.

Create a routine

Now that you have created a 7-day schedule, it’s time to fill up the rest of the month. But the planning doesn’t end there. Before you know it, you’ve successfully populated an entire schedule for the year! Scheduling your tasks annually gives you not only consistency but also insight into what you can realistically accomplish.

Scheduling is about keeping your word on things you must and must not do in a particular time frame. You have to be firm and stick to it. If you want more personal time, include that when creating your calendar of activities. Include your personal commitments in a personal calendar. This could include your morning and night regimen: yoga and eating breakfast to start your day; reading a book and preparing your clothes for the next day to end the night. This habit shapes who you are, and may also have a catching effect within your team.

As part of time management, you need to develop a workflow. Why base a routine on a wishy-washy structure when you can optimize your internal and external processes for your team’s growth? Project Management for Agencies is a proven process not just about making a strategy and gathering a group of people. It’s about creating an essential skill that will form your company’s competence, and taking that success into your everyday lives as a team.

More Employee Scheduling Techniques

Implement time blocks

Time blocks are parts of your available time that are segmented for a particular activity or event. It may be business phone calls, a field inspection, checking and replying to your emails, or even running errands like fetching your laundry from the dry cleaner. Time blocks break your schedule down into more practical chunks. If you work visually, then color-coding the blocks on your schedule can help you keep on track.

As a business owner, time blocking with your staff members helps you assess your employee availability and align team calendars for effortless coordinating meetings and projects.

Micro-scheduling tasks are not only limited to professional duties, but to personal life as well. It is an efficient way of segregating your calendar so that you make the most out of each time slot, which is usually one hour to three hours long. This helps you plan ahead and block time for top priority tasks before they are due.

writing on a paper planner

Working in batches is also another productive way to divide your schedule. It is a technique of doing tasks that are relevant to each other for a particular chunk of time. This way, you don’t constantly jump from one task to the other, increasing your productivity by preventing multitasking.

Say, for example, you work from home. You can lump together doing basic tasks like cooking and preparing meals into an hour or two every day. Another block of time then goes to feeding the dog and taking it for a walk outside. Have blocks of time set aside to focus on work, and you save time in the process.

Maximize use of calendar management tools and employee scheduling software

open book calendar

In this day and age, people are more dependent on technology than ever. There’s a good chance your paper planner has already been ditched for a Google Calendar. But today’s scheduling tools go beyond a simple calendar, to offer an excellent experience. You may have trouble selecting which option offers the best and most helpful features, however, as there are so many ones to choose from.

Most managers prefer smart calendars and other software tools that automatically schedule tasks for the week. Make sure you check out how the scheduling app is initially set up, as this will also take time off from your schedule.

Resources are not only comprised of technological advancement and innovative tools. Remember that having the right people is an asset, too! Know what tasks you can outsource and how best to handle employee schedules. Be sure to do so before you need them, and not during, to maintain your buffer and protect your schedule. You’ll want to do your best to schedule staff with different skills so that you always have a strong team of employees working. 

Employee scheduling software can also help you balance your full-time employees and part-time workers, so you don’t lose track of who’s doing what. Smart scheduling features can also handle multiple schedules and rearrange tasks automatically when your employee schedule changes. While not always a possibility, the best practice is to schedule employees for their preferred hours. 

If you need to balance your books, or you’re having difficulty communicating to 50 existing employees while closing deals with clients, you always have the option to outsource a bookkeeper or a marketing campaign manager. The key is to delegate when needed. Learn how to hire and onboard new employees without the fuss! We provide Hiring Hacks to help you build the perfect team. Click HERE for more details.

Respect your prompts

Often, we set reminders and alarms in order to help us track the time we are spending. A lot of us are guilty of pressing the stop or snooze button when the hour is up and carry on working. Sticky notes often flood our cork board, multicolored markers for whiteboards, and even highlighted notepads – but are they serving their purpose, or are they merely additional decor?

Use your reminders with precision to serve their intent. Use one-liners that will help you understand them in one look, without needing to run through your whole calendar again. Limit your words to a couple of phrases and put the rest of the activity details in a separate attachment to avoid filling up every space with post-its – they’ll only be a distraction!

sticker notes

Avoiding distractions means avoiding procrastination. Identify your biggest distractions and find a way to minimize, if not totally eliminate them. Although chores, TV, children, and neighbors can be a distraction to those working from home, having a workspace separate from all the commotion will be helpful to keep you focused. If all else fails, your friendly neighborhood coffee shop (and a good set of earplugs) might save your schedule from falling apart.

Step back and look at the big picture

light bulb with a hand underneath

At the end of the day, reviewing your schedule, and tasks to complete is helpful for understanding how heavy your commitments are and how much time each one requires. This is also useful to be able to assess your priorities and whether you are still in line with your goals. It could also be a wake-up call to your existing ineffective management process.

Sometimes, 24/7 is not enough for the list you have made, and that means your schedule probably isn’t working for you. Check which activities are really necessary and which can you drop. You don’t have to say yes to every social event or client that comes your way. Your work-life balance, mental health, and physical well-being are all essential to truly reaching your goals.

For small business owners, managing your own schedule and staff scheduling means learning how to take control. Use the scheduling techniques provided here, and be guided by our ScaleMap to know your organization’s status quo and develop your business’ strengths.

Track your schedule and focus on activities that will lead you to your goals by using the ScaleTime Framework and project strategies for agencies. Let us help you do this by setting a Free 20-minute Discovery Session HERE and start focusing on your business’ growth by taking the reins!

How to Delegate Effectively: 3 Way to Delegate More & Worry Less

how to delegate - team members discuss together
The hallmark of a great leader is how effortlessly and effectively they practice delegation of duties, and there truly is an art and science to delegation. The ability to delegate is crucial to the success of any team as it leads to enhanced collaboration and greater participation from team members. So, how to delegate effectively should be a skill that organizations should consciously promote.

Before we get to the most practical and proven ways of delegation of duties, it’s important to understand the concept, why it’s important, and what usually stands in the way of its implementation.

What is delegation?

Delegation is the transferring of responsibilities from a manager or leader to their team members. It’s important to understand that individuals who know how to delegate the right tasks with ease do it with specificity.

The employees should know the scope of delegated work, the resources they would need for its completion, and the timeframe in which they have to execute it.

Why is delegation of duties important?

The question should be, “how is it not important?” Delegating and assigning tasks effectively to team members is arguably the most important piece to being a great leader.

Not to mention that it sets you up amazingly in creating stunning processes for your business!

The  effective delegation process produces higher involvement

Greater participation leads to innovation. When a manager knows how to delegate work to employees, they’re ensuring that their team members will participate in the process. Involvement is key to employees taking initiatives in problem-solving.

Employee empowerment

When a leader delegates responsibilities, they’re also showing their trust in their team members. This empowers employees to put their best foot forward. Autonomy is a function of empowerment and autonomous employees think outside the box to come up with solutions.

One of the most effective statements a leader or entrepreneur can ever make is “I trust you.” That will encourage team members to put in their best and deliver on time.

Delegating tasks improves communication

Delegation when done well will improve the level of intra-team communication. That’s because the manager will have to convey the importance of the delegated task and what’s expected of the team members.

Increases productivity

With greater participation and better communication, the outcomes will be favorable. For team members, every project becomes an opportunity to prove their talent. Under specific directions, employees will understand the problem better, which will increase the overall productivity. This also ensures that you work on high-priority tasks while other team members work on other meaningful and challenging assignments.

Revenue can increase by almost 33 percent when leaders delegate responsibility, per a Gallup study. Although this isn’t gonna happen overnight, it’s definitely worth the trouble and the effort. It’ll eventually be good for your employees and your business.

Promotes meritocracy

A company where the delegation of duties happens seamlessly and routinely will also be a company that believes in and promotes merit. This is also the kind of company that will find it easier to attract and retain talent.

The number of projects an employee is involved in will tell them how much the company trusts them and wants them to stay in the system.

Enhances learning

The more projects and specific tasks they’re involved in, the more the employees will learn. That becomes a virtuous cycle as with every project, their capabilities and confidence will grow.

Delegation of duty frees up leaders

As an entrepreneur or team leader, being constantly busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Being involved in everything may have served you earlier but your current position doesn’t require you to be in hands-on mode all the time.

So, it’s time to roll up your pants and dust off those delegation skills!

When you involve your employees and delegate duties effectively, you’re not only ensuring their participation and boosting their morale but also freeing up your time. Now you can focus on the big picture: being a good leader.

That’s where your expertise and experience are needed now.

Better work-life balance

We live in a culture where 90-hour weeks are considered to be the essential grind necessary for success. This overlooks the toll it takes on the personal lives of managers and entrepreneurs and overall job satisfaction. When you learn how to delegate efficiently, you will also be able to schedule time for your family and friends.

Instead of staying late and working weekends, now you’re reducing the number of tasks on your own work plate. Redistributing work means you can take that much-needed breather. These small but important steps are important for the holistic growth of leaders.

Why managers don’t delegate

I mean, most of us don’t like telling others what to do, right? It’s totally normal!

Even with the considerable advantages of delegation of duties, not many leaders practice it. There are several reasons why managers who are otherwise excellent at what they do, fail to delegate properly.

They think it shows their weakness

Some managers believe that those who delegate tasks are the ones who can’t do it effectively. So, they desist from delegation because they don’t want to come across as inefficient. They also fear that the system might misinterpret their delegation of duties as a sign that they’re incapable of performing it themselves.

What they fail to see is that delegation is another word for offering someone else a chance to work on a project and learn. Yay for professional development!

That’s one of the key responsibilities of a manager and those who don’t delegate are curtailing the growth potential of others. So, delegation reflects a leader’s strength and effective leadership, not their inability.

They want to stay in control

One of the common reasons many managers don’t delegate is that they fear a loss of control. Entrepreneurs might feel that since they’ve been doing it all along, they’re the ones better equipped to handle the responsibilities rather than assign tasks to others. If someone else were to do it, the quality might suffer, or so they feel.

This is how leaders create unproductive and self-centric cultures because the refusal to delegate is another way of saying that the manager doesn’t trust other members of the team to maintain control of the delegated tasks.

They don’t know who to delegate to

Sometimes, the manager doesn’t share duties because they don’t know who can perform the delegated tasks on their team. This ignorance reflects an acute lack of communication, among other things. Those managers who don’t know who to assign the responsibilities to may not recognize a vicious cycle of poor team management.

Unless you start delegating effectively, you wouldn’t know who is capable of doing it. Once the feedback loop kicks in, you would have a better assessment of your team members’ skill sets, which will help you delegate more productively later on.

They believe it would take more time

Usually, leaders believe that they know how to do a task within the given timeframe because they’ve been doing it for a long time. While all organizations may have such managers, startups are most likely to have leaders who think they can do it faster and better than others.

What they don’t realize is that as the startup begins to scale, they will have to focus on larger objectives and bigger problems. Plus, a delegation of duties reduces workloads for everyone and optimizes for freedom.

They’re too involved in some projects to delegate tasks effectively

Perhaps it’s something that comes naturally to you or the task is for a client that you have partnered with for a long time. You don’t want to let anyone else work on it because you’ve always loved doing it. So, you’re hesitant to involve others.

While it’s understandable, it’s good to remember that as more people get involved and become proficient, the better the product or service quality will be. It’s also an opportunity to guide others in doing something that you’re good at.

3 Ways to Delegate More and Worry Less

employees in a meeting

It should be clear by now that delegation of duties benefits managers, their team members, and the organization. To help you become a better leader and entrepreneur, here are three ways to delegate more effectively (and become the effective leader you were born to be!) 

1. Be specific

The first rule you should keep in mind while delegating is to be specific. You should know whether the task can be delegated, who’s the right person to handle it, and a timeframe for its completion.

The task: The project you delegate should be one that doesn’t require your specific involvement or decisions. All other tasks can be delegated to your employees.

Their experience shouldn’t be a hindrance to delegation if it’s a non-core activity. Even if they have never done anything on that scale, remember that they will have to start somewhere. What’s important is to define the scope task, both verbally and in writing.

The personnel: You should choose the individual(s) based on their aptitude, skill sets, and availability. Ask them whether they have done something similar at their current position or in any of their previous roles.

If they haven’t, it’s a manager’s responsibility to encourage them to take on the project. Always frame it as an opportunity to learn or enhance their new skills. Remember to be meritocratic about who you choose and be transparent about it with others. Showing confidence and support will in turn improve their self-confidence and efficiency on the next delegated task.

The timeframe: Sharing a viable timeline is crucial to the successful delegation of duties. Leaders should give not just a deadline but a timeframe that includes reviews and desired outcome should be made clear. You should ensure that your team members will have time to incorporate your suggestions. The last thing you want is to limit the time an employee might need to incorporate the changes you suggest.

Remember that you may be able to complete it faster because you would have been doing it for a while. Anyone attempting it for the first time would require more time. This is why it’s important not to delay delegating tasks until the last moment. Also, keep in mind that they might also be forced to engage in other routine tasks at the company.

2. Provide training, guidance, and authority

Knowing how to delegate a job effectively is also about knowing the kind of resources your team would need and then giving them the autonomy to do it.

Training: As a leader, you should know about your employees’ skill sets and levels of expertise. It’s important to ensure that projects are aligned with individuals with matching proficiency. If there is a deficit, they should be given adequate training.

Instead of waiting for the delegation of duties to start training, managers should engage in it proactively. Leaders can tailor the training to empower employees with the necessary skills for both existing and future projects.

Guidance: Your ability to delegate will depend on how well you can guide your associates. But some managers can’t resist getting overtly involved even after they delegate the task. This is intrusive and shows a lack of trust.

After you ensure that they have the required skills to execute the task, you should guide them on the best practices regarding the project. But don’t force them to do it the way you would have done. Let each individual figure out their paths.

Authority: Employees would naturally feel stifled working under an overbearing leader who micromanages all aspects of their project. Any team member tasked with a project should have the necessary freedom to finish it.

They should have the authority to utilize any resources they might need for the task. Remember that lack of autonomy equals lack of trust. Sure they will make mistakes now and then, but the trust you give them now will bear the fruits later.

3. Give timely feedback and credit

What ensures the successful completion of a task and the proactive involvement from employees is giving feedback and credit where it’s due.

Feedback: Giving suggestions (and don’t forget to offer constructive criticism) is as important as giving them on time. Taking too long to review status updates will delay tasks and employees would rightly feel that they would be blamed for the manager’s mistakes.

Credit: Entrepreneurs should appreciate the efforts that employees put in. A better way to acknowledge them would be to celebrate them publicly. That would inspire others to volunteer for tasks and boost the morale of the organization.

There you have it! That’s How to Delegate Work to Employees Effectively

Delegation of duties is important because it brings demonstrable advantages to the team and the organization. For a business to be cohesive and robust, there should be shared responsibilities and greater participation.

The success of any team or organization will depend to a great extent on its leaders’ ability to delegate responsibilities. So, go on your way and start to delegate more in see the fruits and benefits of delegation. 

Get a Grip on Resources and Budgets with Time Tracking

Time tracking helps agencies improve their project management, budget, and resource allocation. But no one likes having a beady-eyed manager looking over their shoulder — even if it’s a digital one.  

Most of us have had to deal with a nitpicky micromanager at some point creating some management trauma. I know you don’t want to turn into that person and inflict that on your own team’s morale. But you need a way to keep track of your resources and budgets. 

Enter time tracking. 

UGH, I know. 

But I promise – this is a good thing. 

It’s a great tool, but only when implemented the right way, which we’ll get into here in a second. 

First though, a few important points. 

If you implement time tracking protocols and software with a hammy fist, your employees might feel the same way you did once — spied on, controlled, and micromanaged. 

But what if I told you that specific brand of paranoia isn’t justified?

That is if you can effectively communicate with your team on the importance of time tracking. And why it’s a good thing — for them. 

Let’s dive into how your business and your team benefit from time tracking. We’ll also show you the top time tracking tools to use to get a better grip on your resources and budgets.

Time Tracking, Project Management, and the Pareto Principle

You’ve probably heard of it — the Pareto Principle, one of my favorite principles, AKA the 80/20 rule. 

Applied to agencies, the Pareto Principle states that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. Or a specific type of work. 

Do you know who those clients and projects are?

If you do, you can refocus your agency goals to maximize the most profitable clients or projects and improve your budget management. 

“But Juliana, what’s time tracking got to do with all that?”

Every hour you track is another hour that can be billed. When running fixed-priced contracts, you can identify the 20% that brings the most profits to the yard. 

You can weed out the types of projects and clients stretching your resources without doing much for your profit margins. 

Time tracking is a tool that can help scale your agency since you won’t be wasting time frying the small fish. 

Client management got you down? Your client onboarding probably needs some adjustments. It’s not too hard to do with our free client onboarding toolkit

CTA Button: Get the Free Toolkit

How does time tracking help your team members?

Scope creep can bury itself into your budgets, timelines, and also stress your employees. But in a lot of cases, workloads increase in such small increments, you might not notice. 

That is until you’re up at 3 AM stressing out about a project and not knowing how the heck it got so out of control. 

Implementing time tracking can help you identify when a workload is starting to get too big for its britches. 

But when employees hear “time tracking,” they often feel like Big Brother’s about to start spying on them. 

Tips for getting employee buy-in 

PMs, clearly communicate the point of time tracking to your team: 

  • We’re protecting our bandwidth so you don’t burnout 
  • We’re using time tracking to see what’s getting accomplished and when
  • Time tracking will reduce micromanaging because it increases transparency

On that last point, time tracking gives PMs the ability to supervise more efficiently. 

They won’t have the chance to nitpick or directly observe every single detail of the employee’s work process. With time tracking, project managers get a clearer picture of someone’s performance at a cursory glance.

Time tracking can also increase accountability across teams. 

If you’ve noticed a pattern of deliverables repeatedly missing deadlines, or certain team members taking on a huge workload, you might have an accountability issue somewhere. 

With time tracking, you can see where someone or a certain department might be slacking. Let your team know that time tracking can help with this issue and lighten their loads. 

When implementing time tracking, be clear about how you’ll do it, the data you’ll see, and how you’ll use it. 

Being upfront will go a long way toward building trust and getting buy-in from your team. So, manage expectations well in advance of implementation. 

Top Time Tracking Tools for Agencies

Make your life easier. When choosing a time tracking tool, get one with the following features:

  • Budget tracking
  • Freelancer tracking
  • Invoicing 
  • Project management integration

What about the price? If you capture just two hours a month, most time tracking software will pay for itself. We like these two:

Harvest

Harvest is $10 per month for each user and is one of the most popular time tracking tools on the market. It’s got all the important stuff you need:

  • Budget tracking
  • Built-in invoicing features
  • Ability to assign roles so that freelancers and part-timers can time track
  • Offers integrations with Asana, GitHub, and Jira

Toggl

Toggl paid plans are a little more expensive than Harvest — ranging from $10 to $59 a user per month. But it’s got a lower barrier to entry and is easier to set up. 

No need to set up tags, tasks, or projects. Just hit a timer, and you’re off to the races. 

  • Budget tracking
  • Invoicing abilities 
  • Freelancers can track their time
  • Integrations work through Chrome Extension
  • Great for small teams as it offers a free plan for up to five users

Your Next Steps for Time Tracking

Communicating with your team is the most important step in the process. Remember that.  

  • Figure out how you’re going to time track 
  • Be transparent about how you’ll use the data
  • Openly discuss your plans and goals
  • Let your team know how time tracking is going to benefit them 

Anytime you add something new to your team member’s workflow, building trust is key to getting buy-in. 


Have you wanted to use time tracking software to help scale your agency? What’s causing you to hold back? Let us know in the comments.

5 Digital Marketing Agency Tools to Simplify Collaboration & Communication

So many marketing agency tools. So little time. 

Figuring out whether the latest and allegedly greatest newfangled communication tool is going to help your agency scale is not an easy task.

digital marketing tools

There’s the tried-and-true email, Slack, Asana, Monday, Clickup, and so many more. They’re all good, but here’s the problem:

If your organization doesn’t clearly define the roles these communication and digital marketing tools play, information gets:

  • Disorganized
  • Lost
  • Jumbled

Communication and efficiency suffer. The bottom line, you can’t control chaos, and chaos is what happens when your best tools don’t have clearly defined communication roles. 

Let ScaleTime fix that for you. Use these top agency communication tools, social media marketing, campaign management and customer relationship management tools in the right roles for agency growth and provide best marketing strategy. 

Best Marketing Agency Tools for Managing Projects and Timelines

Are you running headfirst into a brick wall of:

  • Confused staff who don’t know what tasks to execute or prioritize?
  • PMs unaware of project status?
  • No clear expectations or higher-ups identified?
  • Impatient clients tired of waiting for your team to get their sh$t together?

Then your issue is you don’t have an organized system to monitor your project status and manage timelines. Managing project timelines is critical to scaling an agency. 

The best collaboration tools for project management are project management tools like:

  • Clickup
  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Monday

These are powerful project management tools with easy-to-use, modern interfaces for managing your project timelines. You can:

  • Plan project timelines
  • Assign specific tasks
  • Work on team management 
  • Monitor the status of each project
  • Quickly see where each project is on its dedicated timeline

But, these tools are NOT for communicating around things that are not directly project-related, which lead us to . . .

Best Tool for Non-Task Related Communication

It’s Slack. One tool that most digital marketers swear by. Think of Slack like a digital version of the traditional water cooler. Slack is ideal for digital marketing agencies of all sizes. Using Slack can help improve teamwork, productivity, and culture. 

Employees can shoot off a quick message or meme to brighten the day. Questions can be answered quickly and communication efficiently improved. 

Setting up Slack channels related to different client accounts and tasks can help keep communications streamlined. You can also invite clients to Slack channels so clients and account managers are all on the same page. When you’re on the go, their mobile app can help you keep touch with your office or remote team members. 

Best Long-form Communication Tool

Email is one of the best communication tools for your vendors, partners, and clients. Unless you can convince them or they have the sophistication to get on your project manager or Slack.  

If you want your communication to be efficient, clear, and concise, head on over to email to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. 

Email enables you to communicate a lot of complex information in an archivable form. And it makes it easy for you to archive important communication chains for later reference. CCing streamlines communication among multiple partners at different companies too. 

WARNING – you don’t want a hairy inbox! To get clients out of your inbox use marketing automation to move actionable messages and requests over to your project manager to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. 

Best Collaboration Tools for Scaling an Agency

Google Drive is an excellent project management tool for collaboration and storing critical project documents. Team members can access the cloud from any device, anytime, and anywhere. 

Ever lost your brain on a project? Then you need to start using Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

Google Drive is empowered with Google’s search capabilities so docs are easily found and accessed. Store your instruction forms, SOPs, and other vital documents in the easily accessible cloud. 

Communication Tools Help Everyone Work Smarter and Faster

One final tip — invite your clients to use these tools. This can help you all work smarter and faster and hit those deliverable timelines. 

Just make sure you identify any cracks in your client processes and fix them first. Let’s just say, boundaries are beautiful and vital to a project’s success. 

Put your communication aces in their places

Today’s digital agencies need powerful collaboration, communication tools, marketing analytics and social media management tool to hit goals and consistently deliver results. 

Increase your efficiency and communication effectiveness, and you’ll have an easier time growing your business. 

Whether you want to ixnay the crossing of communication wires or improve workplace culture, these top business communication tools can help.  

What agency communication tools have you used? What results did you achieve? Let us know in the comments!

Creating Sexy Systems with Smart Technology and Even Smarter Documentation

Stop employee morale degrade

Stop productivity dwindle

Stop profitability downswing

Most of the clients I’ve worked with faced some common “problems” before I helped them step up their processes.

Some of these issues I regularly hear about are:

“We don’t have the bandwidth to take another project.”

“We don’t know how to collaborate better.”

“Our team is too scattered. We don’t have a centralized database for information sharing.”

“An important client asset is missing; I don’t know where to find it.”

“Delegation is a nuisance. How to do it quickly without micromanaging?”

So, how to improve, Juliana, how?

I say with the right TECHNOLOGY and DOCUMENTATION.

If you’re lost in processes (like many businesses), take your employees out of the confines of their silos.

Enable them to collaborate and ramp up better — with the power of technology and documentation.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: make your team collaboration-and-delegation-ready because the lack of collaboration and delegation leads to inefficiencies.

And you can scale your inefficiencies faster than anything else.

Here’s how you can leverage technology and documentation for creating BEAUTIFUL PROCESSES and SEXY SYSTEMS.

Technology

I understand that chaos is the order of the universe. 

Choosing the right tools and pieces of technology will help you:

  • Work across verticals
  • Work across platforms
  • Work across teams – especially the collaborative and telecommuting ones

I mean, how to find all the information you need to get your business going?

For example, if Employee A is in Sydney, Employee B is in Singapore, and you’re sitting in New York, how the heck are you going to collaborate?

You would need all the information in one place — without banging your head against the wall.

Enter technology, and you’re on your way to cutting out the crap and improving performance.

Technology automates tasks and creates efficiencies. So, you and your group can concentrate on the more critical parts of the business — the BIGGER stuff.

Documentation

There’s no ONE document that you need to keep handy all the time.

You have to keep ALL your business documents easily accessible by all who are involved in your business processes.

From the video screencasts to the screenshots, the meeting minutes, the agendas, the contingency plans — every single piece of paper — hard copy or soft copy — should be well-documented to get into the nitty-gritty of the workflow.

Documentation helps you delegate things quickly and help people ramp up quickly.

Let’s say, John, your Account Manager, leaves the organization. You hired a new manager, but they’re clueless about which client needs what.

So, what will save your bacon? Documentation, baby.

When all your information is documented, your employees will be able to use it without any fuss — whenever, wherever.

Documentation = Quicker Delegation = Conversions $$$

It will also help you create quality along the way and have people do things the way you want them to do reliably.

So, as you skate around your expertise, take technology and documentation along with you. They’ll check off your goals sooner than what you’d do otherwise.

And they’ll keep your sanity intact.

Don’t Let Your Tasks Fall Through The Cracks

  • Adopt the right technology for better collaboration
  • Adopt documentation to track all of your projects and delegate quickly

 Here’s to stepping up to the next level.

If you have questions on what tech and documentation processes we use here at ScaleTime, leave a comment, and I’ll share it soon.

5 Pillars for Creating Stunning Processes for Your Business

Struggling to create a process? You’re not alone.

Companies lose 20-30% of their annual revenue due to inefficient processes.

And that’s freaking HUGE!

Many of my clients and prospects ask me, “Juliana, how can I create processes for my business?” Or I sometimes get, “How can I improve the processes I already have?” 

I advise: Rip those layers of red tape must-dos and GET SH$T DONE.

Processing a process is way more than having repeatable systems in place and that super-strong desire to document.

It’s the meta process of your business. It’s how you take the core part of your business and make it effective and efficient.

At ScaleTime, we understand you need super-awesome systems. And you need super-super-awesome processes to help your systems level up.

To unlock opportunities for efficient, effective and quality scaling, we use the following five pillars.

So, brace yourselves for the grand reveal of our killer five-stage approach that works for us every time and will work for you too.

1. Workflows

First, you need workflows. These are the repeatable steps that you need to keep track of your projects. They’re fantastic at giving you a bird’s eye view of the core part of your business.

So you can track a document easily. But workflows? That’s a different animal altogether. 

Creating a workflow process for your business is a checklist that lives in your project management systems and CRMs, helping you track the work being done. This lets you breathe more easily because you can see the workload, capacity, and deadlines. 

Think of the workflow as aides you need to define the people and technologies involved in the processes. And creating them is nothing less than an art – because your processes’ beautiful execution begins with the rightly crafted workflows.

2. Tech Stack

When creating business processes, you need to be skilled at leveraging technology. Because at the end of the day, it’s about collaboration. No matter where your team is, you need that collaboration to be visible and trackable. 

The main things in your tech stack should be: 

  • Project manager
  • CRM
  • Accounting software
  • Scheduler
  • Password protector

Your tech stack should include technology that creates efficiencies, streamlines communication and automates specific tasks so that your business can focus on high-level stuff.

3. Documents

How in the world can you delegate things quickly when there’s so much to do?

Through documents.

These are the support assets you need so that you are not reinventing the wheel.

This step of the process includes spreadsheets, decks, screencasts, screenshots, client documents, agendas, and all the information that helps you get into the nitty-gritty of the workflows.

It’s your key to faster delegation and to enable people to ramp up quickly.

4. Training

Remember that your business process is agile. You won’t have the same processes when you’re a $1 million business vs. a $5 million company.

As your business scales, it changes everything — from sales to production, from project management to the people involved. You need dynamic instructions to teach people how to perform tasks and reach levels of excellence.

This is where training helps.

It ensures you don’t get stuck in a rut and enables you to innovate and ramp up confidently.

5. Metrics

Metrics are the numbers that measure the efficacy of the processes.

Right Measurement = High Profit.

Understand and measure the key performance metrics for your business’s core part:

  • Metrics
  • Outcomes
  • Time a process is taking
  • People’s performance

This will help you drive results and profits.

So, there you have it: the roadmap to successful processes.

But, hey, when you have stunning processes in place, remember to keep optimizing and updating them.

Treat them the same way you treat your marketing campaigns or product launches. Because sustaining successful processes is as important as creating them.

Repeat After Me: Your Meta Process Is A FIVE-STAGE Approach Involving:

  • Workflows
  • Tech Stack
  • Documents
  • Training
  • Metrics

Go ahead, rock it.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.

I’d love to know how you optimize your processes and which processes cause you the most headaches.

And if you’ve crushed it in a process, I’d love to know that as well.

BLM What do systems have to do with race?

And you can’t touch your laptop!

Whaaaaat?

How do you make sure clients are happy?
Do you have a project manager to traffic control? Are deadlines met?
Is your reputation intact when you resurface?

“Juliana, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon,” you may argue


This is not a “one-day, some-day” kind of convo.

Ask yourself, “Can my business operate without me?”

$hit falling through the cracks is an every-day kind of convo.

Think:
Where are you still getting pulled into the weeds?
Asked the same question for the nineteenth million time?
Where does your project management process break?

 

I responded:  
Our defaults, our patterns of behavior are systematic.

They are molded by our beliefs. 
The collection of habits and behaviors create our processes.
Those processes build the infrastructures that now become the system. 

beliefs 
➡ automated/systematic actions 
➡ systemic behaviors/processes 
➡ the infrastructure that is the system


Que Que? 
Okay, that was a mouthful. 
Let’s get a little less abstract. 


  • Jada Doe values keeping mother nature happy. (beliefs)
  • She creates personal habits that reflect this and ripples to all parts of her life. (systematic actions)
  • JD has a paperless business with all green practices based on her values and beliefs that hires and produces eco-friendly people and products. (systemic processes)
  • Eco-friendly sustainability becomes the default state of practices and outcomes based on the infrastructure Jada has created. (her system)


Jada has ensured that every input to every process of her operation is sustainable and therefore all outputs are designed to lower the carbon footprint.

This is why when building a system, I tell my clients to ALWAYS cross-reference your values and beliefs with your decisions, because:

Culture is created by design or by default
Either way, it will get created systematically 

Systemic Racism refers to HOW society operates:  the system disproportionately harms people of certain races regardless of whether there are racists in the system or not. 

When the default practices formed by conscious and unconscious racial bias create our social infrastructure, it allows for a system that  leads to: 

  • voter suppression
  • unequal school/ employment housing
  • lack of any true wealth creation practices
  • million-dollar blocks
  • school to prison pipelines that makes me want to cry
  • list goes on…& on…


That is our system 

When something is wrong with the output. 

Then something is wrong with the system. 


Then you know, 


IT’S TIME TO REDESIGN 

How Do I Manage Information Access for My Team?

Has this ever happened to you?

EMPLOYEE: We need a new hire for [sales, marketing, accounts, etc]!

YOU: What?! We don’t have the money for that because we JUST hired in a different role!

It begs the question–do your employees know what’s going on with your business? From hiring to projects to new initiatives, how are you managing information access?

Managing Information Access for Your Company

When you first start your company, information access is usually informal and unilateral. You only have a few people you’re working with, and everyone gets access to the same info.

But as your company grows, these conversations will start to take place in portals like Slack, Facebook groups, or your project management software. When someone goes on vacation, you still have access to all the information you need.

Once you get to a staff size of 5-15 people, this might stop working as well as it used to. The info is good and useful, but you have to train new employees. So you create a knowledge base in a Wiki or something similar to help you disseminate the information better. There’s a central place where people can catch up and get up to speed.

When you break 20 employees, information starts to get siloed. The leadership group is funneling the information down through meetings and memos. This might work for a little while if there’s only a few silos.

But as you get to 100+ employees, you need to start thinking of information as a heat map. Who needs to know what? What pockets of people need access to what kind of info?

You need to think about how information flows from you as the leader to the people doing the work, whether they’re employees, freelancers, or clients.

The Sales/Marketing Feedback Loop

When it comes to information access, the biggest thing to pay attention to is the feedback loop between sales and marketing. When communication and information flows freely between these two departments, it will make things more efficient and help your business development efforts. Sales can let marketing know about pain points or feedback from prospects, and your marketers can adjust in real time.

But here’s the thing–you don’t have to wait to get bigger to tighten up that loop. 

It doesn’t matter how big or small your organization is. 

If you have a gap between sales and marketing, as you scale that gap is going to scale along with you. The earlier you can close it, the better.

The Benefits of Improving Your Information Access Process

Listen, I know you’re busy. Figuring out your information access might seem like a low-priority task. But I promise that once you streamline this process, you’re going to see major benefits. Here are just a few:

Make Your Customers Happier

When your employees are empowered with information, they can actually make your customers happier! The faster you can answer a customer or client’s question or concern, the better. 

If you have informed, engaged employees with immediate access to the answers they need, you can help customers resolve their issues—fast.

Make Your Employees Happier

When you keep your employees in the loop, their energy and commitment to your company goes up. You’re going to see this reflected in the way they turn from employees to brand ambassadors. 

When your employees become privy to important information—whether it’s your company’s mission or a client folder—they feel like part of the team. They go from employees to partners.

Increase Profits!

Here’s an easy equation for you:

Informed employees = better service = happy customers = more profits

If you give your team access to important information in a central spot, customers with a problem won’t have to be passed around like a hot potato until they can find someone in your organization to solve their problem. When everyone is in the loop, you don’t waste time on filling team members in when there’s a service issue.  

And because you’re not wasting time trying to find the right person to solve the problem in the first place, your employees can be more productive.

Happy customers and efficient team members can be the key to higher profits!

Empower Your Leaders

You’re not the only leader on your team. 

You need your other leaders to have easy access to important data about your business so they can do what they do best. 

Whether it’s research and development, marketing strategy, or sales bottlenecks, giving them key info can mean the difference between a well-oiled, innovative company and a disorganized company where processes are too overwhelming to allow for innovation. 

Tell Me!

How do you organize your information access? Is it working for your team? 

If not, no worries. I can help. Let’s chat about it.

Infographic: The Art & Science of Delegation

Ever feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin as a small-business owner? Our infographic explains how you can grow your company and avoid burnout by learning to delegate.

art and science of delegation infographic

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Spankin’ New Workflows – Because you can’t track a document

“I don´t wanna!” I would rather eat my vegetables than create a workflow.

 I would like to say workflows allow you to be more efficient, optimized and automated.

What is a workflow? Webster states (so you know it’s true):

But, the actual beauty of creating a workflow from what I have witnessed is that going through thousands  of these is not that it is a structured process … it’s a creative process, it is where the ideas and brainstorming for customer service, upgrading your quality and innovation come to life. It’s what allows you to get out of working in the business and love it again.

It’s actually quite romantic.

You may have instructions and documentation for the business that you may or may not update from time to time so why need a workflow?

Shakespeare aside, you can’t track a document!!!!

So when you are out and about, on sales meetings or god forbid a vacation – you need to know where in the process your actual team is on client work.

A part of not wanting to create a workflow is the where do I start?

What goes in a workflow:

  • First, figure out your project manager. Check out what Systems Have to do with Dating for guidance on how to pick a project manager.

Make sure you can create a template!

    • A home for all your workflow assets (templates, videos, and documentation) – this can be a database, dropbox, google drive   
    • The steps/tasks in the process
    • The medium – how is the step being completed ie phone call, tweet, email, document shared
    • Instructions for what needs to be done to complete each task – Highlight the big priority for those team members that already know how to get things done but might need a little reminder every once in awhile
    • Time line – how much time is in between steps, what does the follow up look like for communication, reviews and approvals and what to do when other stakeholders do not respond
    • Who’s responsible for each step
    • Centralize your communication with team and clients –  get out of your inbox and identify exactly what piece of the project needs attention
  • Success criteria, deliverable or output — how do you know is this workflow working? When is it complete?

Reminder: the workflow is meant to be an ACTIONABLE, ITERATIVE process

This means that it’s a living document and will grow with your business, technology changes and industry fluctuations

The best part of the workflow is that you get to delegate — wooohooo. Not only that, but you can train newbies with the same standards of excellence. Everyone that touches that workflow can iterate and make it better.

The second best part is that you will never have to do this again because you can just copy the template per client — like this (most project managers copy who is responsible for the tasks, so every time you get a new client your team knows what they are expected to do)

Bonus Tip: Workflows allow you to centralize your communication.

    • Stay out of your inbox
    • Contextualize conversations within tasks
    • First, it’s a training tool, then it becomes a tracking tool #FTW
    • Reduces hand-holding as you move towards making things stupid proof
  • Removes “common sense” syndrome