“Lost time is never found.” -Benjamin Franklin.

Being a business owner is not easy. You wake up every morning with a packed schedule before you. There are business meetings to attend, documents to read, issues to be fixed and goals to pursue. Often times, you go from meeting to meeting, one task to another, discussions with employees, meetings with clients and before you know it, the day is almost done.

Those are probably the days where you wish for time to stop just for a few hours or for the day to have more than 24 hours. Do you find often tell yourself, ‘I will leave the other tasks for tomorrow,’ and then all the things you leave for tomorrow to pile-up, leading to more problems in the future. Believe me I know how this feels and the only way to go about this is to implement effective schedule management.

Here are 5 tips for effective schedule management. Hopefully by using these tips, you’ll free up some time and be able to focus on the more important aspects of your business.

1. Use Google Calendar

Creating events on Google Calendar is really easy. You just need to click on the specific time and date on your Google calendar account synced to your email, enter the event name and click on ‘create event.’ It is THAT easy.

If you have a team, you can easily share your calendar with them so that they’ll know your schedule and this will lessen the exchange of emails and messages pertaining to your availability. If you need to check your contractor’s or employee’s availability, you can do so by Smart Scheduling a meeting. You can layer their schedule with yours and you’ll see both of your availability.

The best thing about Google calendar is, you can check your schedule anytime and anywhere on a variety of devices including your laptop, tablet or phone. All updates are done in real time and you can get people to help in managing your calendar so you are not doing it alone.

2. Use Sunrise

This is one of my favorite applications. This application links your Google calendar, iCloud and exchange emails to your social media accounts putting all events into just one place. If you checked in into a restaurant using Foursquare, it will directly send a notification on Sunrise and put the event into your calendar that you’ve been in that restaurant on the specific time and date. You’ll never need to recall where you have been for a specific meeting.

Not only this, if you have set-up an event on Facebook or have joined an event on your Facebook account linked to Sunrise, the event will be synced to Sunrise and will give you a notification if you want to.

3. Get a Virtual Assistant or a Personal Assistant to Organise Scheduling

Linked to using Google Calendar, if you are a “busy entrepreneur” that is always on the move, you should outsource your scheduling. Tasks such as organising meetings, confirming appointments and schedule management is best done by a Virtual or a Personal Assistant.

Getting a Virtual Assistant is easy. There are thousands of freelancers out there on freelancing websites and you just have to choose depending on your business’ needs. You can set-up a Google account for your VA, sync your calendar to that Google account and they will take it from there. If there is a client requesting for an appointment, your VA can check your availability, put the event on the calendar or reschedule if you are not available by emailing or calling the client themselves. Of course, before hiring your VA, make sure that they have the right qualifications and experience for appointment setting and calendar management.

4. Only Offer Two Time Slots

When a client is requesting for an appointment, give them only 2 options to pick from. The reason for doing this is the more options your provide, the harder it is for the client to decide. If there are only 2 options, they can only pick A or B. Very easy. It also allows them to understand that you have limited time slots available and they are more likely to stick to the timing provided.

5. Consolidate Schedules

Consolidating schedules is the most important thing on effective time management. Even if you have entered events on Google calendar, set-up Sunrise and hired a Virtual Assistant, if you are not consolidating your calendar properly, then all efforts will just go into waste. Make sure that your always updating your calendar. Send notifications 10 or 15 minutes prior to the said event for you to be ready. And always check if there are overlapping events.

Let me know if these 5 tips work and do share with me any other tips you may have.

This article first appeared on my blog – https://www.unbusyentrepreneur.com/2015/09/5-tips-for-effective-schedule-management/ where I write about small business, entrepreneurship and productivity hacks.