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Reclaim Your Calendar

Time is more valuable than money. You can always make more money. You can never make more time.

Jim Rohn

If a year of working and schooling from home for a year did anything for the world, it focused, even more precisely, the need for us to balance our work and home lives.

An absolutely excellent tool that I have used to help me with this balance is the Reclaim.ai tool.

I wish I recall how I came across this tool, but I absolutely do remember the pain I was going through that got me looking for it

I was failing at managing all my calendars

Solopreneurship and Time Management

Two years ago, I was squarely in the solopreneurship category (aka freelancer). While ConnectedWell has grown quickly since then, each client I brought on board created a set of problems I had not yet solved for. Each client brought an email address, slack channels (or, heaven forbid, teams chat) and calendars to manage.

  • Slack was easy to add in to my slack app. Done.
  • I solved the email issue with the grace of a ballerina with Missive app.
  • Calendaring was killing me

I found myself relentlessly trying to block out meetings and keep things from getting double booked

And it wasn’t working.

Reclaim Blocks Your Calendars For You

And a lot of other smart things as well.

Basically, it can smartly two-way synchronize between your calendars, allowing you to either have a copy of your personal calendar events on your work calendar, or creating “busy blocks” of time so that when a dance recital or spelling bee shows up on your personal calendar, your work calendar gets a “BUSY” calendar item automatically placed there so the time is preserved!

Hack: Multiple Client Calendars

To solve my multiple client calendars issue, I do use Reclaim to share/sync my work and personal calendar.

But then I also setup a reclaim instance with my new client’s calendar syncing to my work calendar as if it were my personal calendar.

I don’t copy events over, just “busy” blocks of time.

The result is that if any event is booked against any of my calendars, within 3-5 minutes, there’s a smart busy block on each of my other calendars, to ensure Client A doesn’t schedule a meeting during an interview for Client B. And vice versa.

Where Did The Time Go?

No worries, Reclaim has your back here, too. I get these reports on Fridays helping me get a little insight into the time sucks that I didn’t see coming. For example, TWENTY hours of meetings? Ugh. No wonder last week felt like a bit of a slog. πŸ˜‰

Reclaim sends me productivity reports each Friday. I need to cut down on my big meetings!

Final Thoughts

I’m not affiliated with Reclaim. Their tool is currently free. If they ever charge for it, I will be first in line to pay, though. They have saved my life. If time is money, then I need a reclaim tattoo right on my wallet. They have saved me so much stress in managing my personal and work calendars as well as multiple client calendars as I have juggled my growing client base and company.

Tell me what you think!

Categories
Blog Entrepreneurship Life Lifehacks Relationship

🀞🏽Hey, One Day at a Time, OK?

This reminder pops up on my screen each morning at about this time.

It’s been doing this for a couple of years and, when I am able to, I stop whatever I am doing, switch over to the reminder (in todoist) open the comment, put my hands down, and read OUT LOUD the notes that my past self wrote to me, for me to read today.

It starts with this:

“Rob, this day will be fraught with challenges. Some I will be able to handle. Some, I won’t. That’s not my job.

“My job, on this day, is to see the big picture. Stay true to my Self and in my β€œright mind” and not lose sight of the impact of my actions on the people around me, especially [my wife] and my family.”

As someone who founded a company a few years ago and immediately went insane with working 100-120 hours each week and turning into a nightmare of a person (all while faking it so my clients wouldn’t know*), this is deeply, deeply meaningful.

(*spoiler: they always knew)

I have spoken here before about how taking notes saved my marriage and my business, and other mental health behaviors I have taken on like meditation and mindfulness. I won’t rehash the same things here, though I can express fully that, whatever your life experience, your journey, I hope you are able to find some peace today in just taking a step, maybe a small one, and not forgetting to breathe.

And my favorite thing about meditation is that people who do it call it a “practice”, not a “perfect”.

Hallelujah for something I πŸ‘πŸ½ can πŸ‘πŸ½ just πŸ‘πŸ½ practice πŸ‘πŸ½ and not worry about getting right all the time.

These concepts have changed my life. And the colors of the world, and the richness of love I get to feel in my heart in my relationships (and the joy of seeing and working with amazing, amazing people as we built what is turning out to be a very, very unique recruiting company) are much deeper because of it.

πŸ™πŸ½ Namaste, my friends. Happy Friday.

Has meditation and mindfulness helped you? I’d love to hear from you.

Categories
Blog Entrepreneurship My Favorite Things Process Improvement

Gusto Makes Paying Payroll & Contractors Magical

I have used Gusto* twice now to run my payroll in my business ventures and, in the 8 clicks or so that it took to pay my contractors and employees today, I thought I should write about it. Partly because, for some strange reason, I avoided using them during my current venture even though I loved them before. Looking back, I put myself through a lot of pain this go-round. Don’t do that to yourself. #learnFromMyMistakes

Managing payroll and compliance with Gusto makes my small business or solopreneur venture even more awesome. Key benefit for me? Paying contractors any amount with direct deposit with no extra fees or transaction charges. ? ⬇️ Finally, I can stop using Venmo!

Gusto definetly goes on my list of how to run a business smarter, not harder. Three years (and $20k in tax issues later), cough up the comparative pocket change to do this right.

The OLD WAY of paying contractors for me included trying to find their venmo account, ignore how many times they bought tacos last week (really?) negotiate on if they wanted payment from Cash App instead or maybe paypal… and then haggle over who paid the transaction fees. This worked “great” until I had enough business I bumped up against my venmo transaction limits, and my people will attest that the waiting around for payments SUCKED. I had two contractors getting paid by venmo, one on Cash app, a bunch I had to hoodwink into reactivating their PayPal accounts (and I coughed down the fees most of the time). P.S None of this included the accounting gymnastics I got to do monthly when I had to parse out which payments went to whom and for what work

The cost of using Gusto to pay yourself + 9 employees is the equivalent of 58cents an hour. If your billing rate can’t choke that down, I seriously recommend you find a regular job ?.

If you are going out (or already out) on your own or taking on a side hustle, or partnering with some colleagues at a joint-venture, it’s alluring to run everything on your own and go lean, but after three years of trying and making mistakes at this, I am learning to automate the things computers can do so I can do the things I do best — which is recruit and lead and support my team.

Things Gusto does very well (the top three were enough for me to stop kicking myself and sign up)

  • Manages payroll for W-2 employees seamlessly.
  • Send payments to 1099 Contractors direct deposit, and for no extra fees.
  • Run as many payroll or expense reimbursement runs per month as you like, for no extra fees.
  • Ability for your employees to get “instant” paychecks if they like or are short on cash (no cost to you).
  • Ridiculously quick and friendly support.
  • Awesome, simple user interface.
  • Access to benefits and other nifty features such as charitable contributions, 401k, 529 accounts, life insurance and more.
  • Helps you process 1099s and W-2 statements at the end of the year.
  • Know before you submit payroll exactly how much will come from your accounts and when.
  • Automatically handles state and federal tax requirements, sending the right tax amounts to the right withholding accounts so you can rest easy knowing the tax man cometh, but not with a scythe. They even got my account numbers for me. I did zero paperwork.
  • Onboard and offboard employees, even sending offer letters!
  • Sync magically with all accounting packages.
  • Causes your accountants to regularly break out into song.

Plus, they’re giving you $100 Amazon gift card to try it just for signing up at my recommendation (after you run payroll). I mean, I would recommend it anyway, but, if they’re going to front you a hundred bucks, that’s 2.5 months worth of their fee if you (yourself or others) are a W-2 employee. That’s 4 months free if you have no W-2 employees and 4 contractors (16 months free if you have just one contractor).

Full disclosure, I also get $100 if you try this. I’d recommend it anyway, so, if you feel strange about that just go to gusto.com yourself and sign up, or ask your accountant to refer you if you want to keep the cash “in the family”, so to speak.

Either way, I ran payroll and paid my contractors and ticked off a bunch of tired old tax-compliance boxes using Gusto this morning in way less time than it took to write this.

Or, keep doing payroll the hard way.

Gusto is part of my accounting stack for small businesses, which includes:

Tell ’em I sent ya ?

*This is a referral link. If you go here and buy stuff, I may or may not get a small something in return. It might be money or a gift-card or a discount on my service. It’s usually not much. And, I am a paying customer of all these services, so its really just soda money in the end. I am not living off this, lol. If this makes you feel strange, feel free to run over to that website all by yourself or ask someone else to refer you. No problem. But if you feel like my advice helped you, clicking this link is one way to say thanks. I mean, that or five pound box of $50 bills would work, too… but clicking the link is easier. #justsayin