Seeking Advice to Save Time at Work

 

I’m seeking your insight, experience and knowledge to solve this quest:

Can we use our Facebook or other easy-access tech to help us save time or coordinate our busy lives?

As a marketing agency consulting CEO’s & business leaders, I find that all business leaders need to save operations time so we can focus on our clients, our products or services, our marketing, and running our businesses.

 

Here’s the Scenario

Last night I raced to San Francisco across a jammed Bay Bridge to teach a class for my favorite microenterprise training company, the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. Turns out, the class was cancelled and I never received the email. A whole wasted 1.5 hours in my busy day!

I know I’m not the only one this happens to.

I bet there are some great online tools that might solve this? Would you share your suggestions in comments below to save us all time at work.

 

Here’s One Idea

Thanks to my colleage Joshua Zerkel of Custom Living Solutions (Prez of Professional Organizers Assoc.), I learned about “Doodle” – a super easy way to schedule meetings online. I even use it with friends to schedule walks or events if it’s not a big evite list.

Through online tools like this, the coordinator at a school or business group could send notices to the whole group so they’re auto-delivered via email, saving valuable work time.

As a participant, I could go to this site to double check status before wasting fuel and my time in case changes were posted.

 

Another Idea: Will This Work?

Could a group set up a private facebook page for communicating with it’s own members? For example, could the training coordinator set up a  page for just their teachers that posts times, reminders, updates for both the businesses being consulted and for us consultants advising the businesses? Their job would be to only invite the consultants and students for that group as friends, and to monitor that one page, instead of 3 dozen emails.

Wouldn’t that save everyone time and potential missed emails? (sure it’s still email notification, but facebook does seem to reliably deliver emails).

Is facebook the best ‘tool’ for this? Or are there better tools or ideas? It just seems like it would save time, efficiencies, and create a central place for updates that all relevant parties to contribute to, right? It would save admins (or anyone coordinating meetings,events, etc.) time by only posting to one website which notifies everyone at once of updates. 

 

What am I missing here?

Please post your great ideas, comments, tools, or corrections to my likely misassumptions by clicking on ‘comment’ below. There are many readers who could really value from your input.

As a marketing agency, we encourage you to put in a 6 word only plug for your business if you take time to leave a comment, too!  [as an example, here’s my plug: “one stop marketing for all services”.

Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge. After all, knowledge is bliss!


Comments

Seeking Advice to Save Time at Work — 9 Comments

  1. I save time by taking public transit whenever possible, so that I can do something else while in transit. I am never EVER without something to read…whether at the train, the dentist, or a client office. I confirm all appointments and try to get a phone number in case anything changes (to avoid unknown cancellations). When appropriate, I bring my laptop to continue to get something done. I always keep my Blackberry, which syncs automatically with email, text, etc and I always have my contacts info. Then I make the person who cancelled the meeting without telling me buy me lunch. 🙂

  2. Hi All,

    I use outlook express that goes to my ical (mac) calendar to schedule and remind everyone about meetings. Frank Zamacona/Zamacona Productions – HD Video Productions on the Net, Broadcast and Cable.

  3. ah yes, good advice all. But we’re still relying on email for this. That was the original problem in this scenario. I wonder if there’s another way? Yoda hear us!

  4. Ali and All,

    Seems like it gets harder all the time to schedule meetings. But there is still no substitute for face to face conversation. My colleagues and I have been using Time Bridge for over two years now. It allows you to see when everyone involved in a meeting is available, makes restaurant recommendations, and sends reminders and updates (such as “your class has been cancelled.” It integrates well with Outlook and iCal. So as you can tell, I would recommend this service.

  5. Excellent ideas, folks. Thanks for the tips. OK, where’s the little pitch about all your great companies, Lisa, Frank, Dave & Cathy? Just share a tidbit about your offerings for our readers.

    Here’s my twobits: Cathy is a master training designer, Frank a top tv director, Dave an awesome lighting designer, Lisa the best – I mean best- recruiting firm ever. I know you all so can vouch for each of you. Any other contributors – pls. let us know your mastery, too!

  6. Great tips so far, everyone! My two cents:

    You’ll never be able to control whether people show up for meetings, but you can try to structure them so they will be as effective and efficient as possible. One way is to have SHORTER meetings – 15 minutes instead of 30, for instance – as people tend to get to the point when there’s less time available for chatting.

    Another way is to make sure that prior to the meeting, and agenda and all supporting docs/information are sent to all the participants. This prevents the “I’ve never seen that before” blank looks that can derail any meeting. An agenda helps keep everyone focused and on track.

    A great tool for managing meetings is TimeBridge (www.timebridge.com). It works like Doodle where you can set up meetings for multiple people, but additionally it let other people see your availability so they can schedule meetings with you individually.

    Hope these ideas help!

    Joshua Zerkel, CPO
    CEO & Productivity Strategist
    http://www.customlivingsolutions.com
    Boosting Productivity & Profits for Entrepreneurs and Professionals

  7. As a film distributor we have many projects going on and we have found two tools in particular that have been helpful.

    The first is just using Google Docs. We often create an on-line spreadsheet for the team involved. What is useful is that updates like schedules and meetings can be made to a central secure document that everyone on the team has access to.

    The second is more sophisticated for larger projects is software called Highrise: http://highrisehq.com/ With Highrise all our contacts, meetings, individual deals and commitments are recorded and available. It sends out alerts and other information. We’re using it on FRESH a new film we are releasing that comes to theaters in the Bay area Oct. 1-7. There are literally hundreds of supporters of this film and we have a team of over a dozen people who share information through this software. It costs a little to set up but it’s pretty impressive

  8. My business is on the road. I am not always able to get to a computer because I am outdoors with dogs. I carry a scheduling book and can back my schedule up in my phone. If it is vitally important I have an alarm that goes off 1/2 hour before I need to attend a meeting. I always follow up on the day of the client meeting to make sure the meeting will still take place, especially if it is an inconvenient location.

    If clients want to schedule a meeting and I am out walking dogs, I have them call back and leave a message with specific dates and times on my voice mail. I add them to my schedule in the evening and confirm all dates with the client again.

    I don’t know if this saves time but I rarely, if ever, have been to a client meeting that was canceled without my knowledge.

  9. Meetup.com is a great place to setup a calendar of meetings for a specific group. But I agree with Liz – we aren’t always near the computer (and I for one prefer to group like tasks together and just check email once or twice a day). I’m sure there must be a text broadcast option. At the least, the person teaching the class should get a phone call!

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