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Accountability to Calendly

Hannah Swierstra profile picture

By Hannah Swierstra

A is for Accountability

There are so many A’s to choose from but I thought where better to start than with accountability?

If you’re anything like me, you need some outer accountability to make sure you stay on track & get stuff done.

Let’s take my recent exercise regime. Since November 2020 I’ve been running at least once a week and was attending workout sessions. That was all going pretty well, I was almost in the best shape I’ve ever been, my clothes were comfy & I felt fit.

That all stopped at the end of July & I’ve since only managed a few runs & zero strength work.

Why?

A number of reasons. I moved away from York so I lost my running buddies & could no longer attend class. Plus, what most likely had the bigger impact, I completed the event I’d signed up to & had motivated me in the first place.

That means I’m now only accountable to myself, not other people, an event, or a charity. It makes it harder. Of course, there’s room for deeper work here but let’s be realistic, a lot of us lose focus & become less productive because we don’t have that accountability.

It can be a really simple fix, get yourself an #accountabilitybuddy or join a group, online or in-person – it really will help. And it’ll take the pressure off you, so maybe you can feel a little bit less crap about yourself. Works for me!

B is for Breathwork

There are times that even with the best will in the world, it is all too much. Your chest tightens, the throbbing starts in your head and you are asking yourself how on earth you are going to get it all done in the timeframe you have.

It feels impossible.

Maybe it is, maybe you are asking yourself, expecting yourself to do too much.

Back in 2018, this was me pretty much every day, I was stressed, overwhelmed, and often had a tightness in my chest, all tell-tale signs of anxiety. Unsurprisingly this was having a negative impact on my productivity, I was getting more ‘behind’ and so the cycle went on.

I would often hit that point, you know, when you are just about to lose your sh*t, whether that’s to burst into tears or scream and shout at some poor unsuspecting, or fully deserving, human. As a cryer, I’m a big fan of letting the tears come, but it’s not always welcome.

One thing I came back to time and time again was breathing. I would take myself off, usually to the loo, although that didn’t stop people knocking on the door for me…

I would sit for a minute or two, focussing on my breath following one of my favourite techniques – 4-7-8 breathing.

Heard it all before, I know, but it is super simple & I find it to be reallllly helpful. You breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 7 and then out for 8, repeat 3 times or until you feel the brain fog/chest tightness/desire to scream or cry/feeling of despair shift. Of course, It’s not a magic wand and doesn’t make everything suddenly better, but it will give you a chance to stop & re-focus.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert, and as with all my suggestions, there is no one size fits all, no one, perfect solution. This may not work for you and it will only take a couple of minutes to try 💙

C is for Calendly

Do you use an appointment scheduling tool?

There are loads out there, Acuity, Arrangr, CalendarHero, Timify, When2Meet, and many more. Calendly is my preferred option, the free version allows you one meeting type (mine is 30 mins), you can set a schedule, sync it with your calendar & integrate it with your preferred meeting software.

Once it’s set up all you need to do is post your link, add it to your email footer or send it to someone. They can pick an appointment with you without the faff of toing & froing to find a suitable time.

CLEVER!

It was a client of mine who first introduced me to the wonder of appointment scheduling as I booked our first 1 to 1 in. I’m not going to lie, as a fresh-faced business owner, it did kind of blow my mind. I clicked the link, it came up with available dates and times. I booked and entered my details and the next thing I know I have an outlook calendar invite with a zoom link. This was probably the start of my journey from Generalist VA to Tech VA, I was hooked on automation!

I’m not going to talk about the ins and outs of Calendly, but rather how you can manage your appointment scheduling app so it helps with your productivity, not against it.

At first, I opened up my whole calendar for 30 days straight, you could book an appointment with only 30 minutes’ notice, which then put me into a whirl of panic as I didn’t have the chance to even begin prepping for our meeting.

So I set some rules, some boundaries.

Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Look at your working week, regular meetings, deadlines etc., and decide when YOU would like to have your 1 to 1’s. For example, I don’t make myself available on Mondays or Friday afternoons. That’s not to say I don’t have meetings on these days, but it would usually be with a client, rather than a prospect.
  2. Update your online calendar – this is a MUST otherwise you risk double booking!
  3. Block out times in your calendar for work you know needs to be done, especially if you have deadlines, this includes the all-important CEO day.
  4. Think about adding a buffer into the appointment set-up, I have 15 minutes on either side which allows for over-running & those much-needed pee breaks between meetings!
  5. Integrate your appointment app with your meeting provider of choice, Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meets, that way everything is done & dusted when your prospective client books the appointment.

I hope these are helpful and I’ll be back in November with Delegate to …

In the meantime, if you’re feeling a little apprehensive about trying something new and how it will work out, I’ll leave you with these words from a genius.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein