Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 creative uses for your small business calendar

Any small business owner or organization can create value through creative calendaring.

Business calendars are nothing new—from scheduling appointments and meetings to planning promotions and paying the bills or employees—but it's likely that you are not using your calendar to its full potential.

"I'm trying to move towards a space where it's not only an individual planning tool, but it's also a group planning tool and a historical record for the organization," explains Loren Guerriero, the Community Outreach Coordinator for Mercy Corps NW.

Don't worry, you don't have to look far to learn about the benefits of advanced calendaring processes as the testimonials below from several Portland thought leaders will demonstrate that any small business owner or organization can create value through creative calendaring.

"I rely on my calendar; it's critical to how I conduct myself through the day,” says Lisa Christy, an Associate Media Director at Wieden+Kennedy. "If something's not on the calendar, it's not real."

If your own sentiments don't echo Christy's, it might be time to reconsider how you use calendars. So, what are the purposes for a calendar?


Calendars can help you compartmentalize your time. They will help you stay organized, plan ahead and even relieve some stress while potentially increasing productivity.

"I don't have to worry about where I'm supposed to be and when and with whom," Christy continues. "It frees all that up… so I can focus my energy on thinking about what I'm doing as opposed to worrying about where I'm supposed to be."

"It keeps me on task and keeps me going," Christy adds.

In an agency environment where "a lot of people are working on a lot of different stuff" like at Ben Lloyd's Amplify Interactive, some employees choose to block out certain times to work on the same weekly tasks or projects for clients, making sure everything is properly maintained and deadlines are met.


Or better yet, communicating without communicating. At a boutique digital agency like Amplify Interactive, president Ben Lloyd can schedule appointments with his employees without even exchanging a word. Simply turn on several calendars side by side, compare availabilities, and Lloyd can schedule a meeting for the entire team with a few clicks. Employees will automatically see the meeting, location, time, and any other pertinent information in their own calendar windows.

"Organization and calendaring is usually one of the first things that we talk about when I interview people," Lloyd says, "because it's a really big part of working in an agency environment like ours."

But the communication extends far beyond the walls of his office and personal employees.

"We're able to send calendar appointments to clients and see who's attending all from the calendaring system," Lloyd says.

And organizations like Mercy Corps NW have both internal and external calendars.

Read the next eight tips on Neighborhood Notes.

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