A modern businessperson often works for one company, is busy building another, and is juggling family life as well. These three facets of life can often conflict with each other. The question becomes, how do I make sure my life goes smoothly?
I have found three different web services that have helped me gain control over my life: an online calendar, a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service, and a professional email separate from your main business email and personal email accounts.
Separation of data is key, for this will give you the ability to quickly determine what facet of your life is overriding the others. After four years of handling this juggling act, I have found the following to be the most effective services to use.
Four separate accounts need to be used. The first three are the obvious Business, Freelance, and Personal (shortened to BFP after this.)
The final is a congregate account, used for a quick reference if you do not have access to your phone or tablet. Here is a link to a help document, if you are unfamiliar about how to share calendars.
The beauty of this system is that you can share details of your schedule, without revealing what is going on. You don’t want your old college pal knowing you are meeting a competitor of his for drinks, eh? By simply marking events as private in their respective calendars, you can prevent those you share your calendar with from becoming too familiar with your life.
Microsoft Outlook.com Calendar
This is Microsoft’s answer to Google Calendar. It is a capable solution, though lacking in some of the collaboration features found in Google Calendar. For instance, the “Private Time” feature is not available.
There is an added benefit; Microsoft Calendar enables you to retract permissions to view the calendar. Here is a link to a help document describing the sharing process.
Google Voice is one of the marvels of the modern world. This service enables one to create a specific window of opportunity when calls get to your physical phone line. At all other times, all incoming calls will go straight to voicemail. You will no longer experience calls from clients from one job when working on another, but your child’s school will be able to get through regardless.
An additional benefit is the ability to block calls without incurring an additional fee.
Here is a link to Google’s introduction page.
Skype is best known for its simple video calls. What is less known is the service’s ability to obtain a landline number and use it like a cell phone. This service is like Google Voice, except the phone number costs money and you are required to have credit on your account.
In addition, you cannot set “no call” times.
A professional email account will, by definition, be separate from your personal account. Since no business is complete without a presence online, I am making the bold assumption that you have a domain name and a hosting company under contract.
In the last four years, I have used three different commercial hosting plans. Google, Microsoft, and my site hosting company have all provided capable service.
My advice here is to use the free option. Your service provider provides email-hosting, use it. As long as it has IMAP delivery as an option, you will be just fine.
By using simple tools to your advantage, it is possible to gain an understanding on what is going on with your life. The sharing tools give your friends, colleagues, and clients the ability to understand what is going on without overwhelming you.
Google, Skype and Microsoft are mentioned in this article. They are not providing any financial incentive, nor are there any expectation that there will be.
Image Credit: Flickr user SUMAYAH Photographer