This year I’ve been helping my sons’ school fundraise for a new playground. It’s been incredible to see all the different talents each mom in the fundraising group brings.

Originally, I thought what I would offer to the committee would be my design skills – and they have been useful. I’ve enjoyed making a tea towel with every child’s name on it, invitations, posters and menu designs etc.

I’ve realized that I bring two other broad skills to the group too. Firstly, I’m math-focused: “let’s figure out what the profits are for the level of work involved rather than simply run with an idea”. Secondly, I’m efficiency-focused: “what tools or systems can we use to make this run smoother?”

We can get so caught up in our own world, that we can forget that other people don’t all know what we have learned and have added to our way of doing things. And, vice versa, we can learn from what others have discovered if we’re open to change. (One of the reasons why I love to travel and read).

A common problem that I see are real inefficiencies in scheduling and organizing people. There’s too much backward and forwards trying to figure out what time and date which suits everyone.

Here’s a set of tools I have come to love and rely on to get rid of this hassle…

Making it easy to get a group together: Doodle

When there’s a group trying to figure out a time and date to meet, I love using Doodle. I was introduced to this by Clotilde Dusolier – we use this when figuring out dates that the four of us in our mastermind group can do a call together. When I arranged a dinner with six friends recently, I used it too. It’s free, easy and works.

Making it easy to book a call, meeting or appointment with one person: Calendly

When you want people to book a call, meeting or appointment with you, I love Calendly. It’s also free, easy and works. No worrying about double bookings: it syncs with my Google calendar so automatically blocks off any times which I’m busy. No worrying about timezones either: that’s all handled for you.

So much thought has been put into it: buffer times between calls (if you like, in case a call goes over, or you need a break), a minimum time between a booking and the call taking place (no last minute stress), automatic reminders sent out (fewer no-shows) and self-service rescheduling or cancellation.

Want to schedule a free call with me to talk about your site? Use my Calendly link.

Making it easy to book a group call, class or a meeting with one person: Acuity

When you want to allow people to book themselves into multiple group classes with a maximum intake, optionally paying and optionally completing a registration form, Acuity Scheduling is incredible.

We’re using this to organize volunteers for the upcoming school fair by setting all the different activities we need helpers for, a maximum number of helpers and the times they’re needed. In the past, people have filled in a paper form and then they’re all entered into a computer and then someone had to manually contact everyone back with which slots they were needed for. Plus, there were no reminders and some people (including me!) turned up not knowing where to go to help.

Love that it includes worldwide text message reminders as well as email reminders.

Our client Ginger Burr has switched to using it to take bookings for her Color Consultation and for scheduling a free image consult (she’s an image stylist for women over 40). Booking and paying are all done in one simple step. You can embed their forms into WordPress nicely too.

Making it easy to booking a tour, rental or workshop with a company: Checkfront

When you have a tour, rental or workshop type business, Checkfront has a fantastic fully-featured system for online bookings. We’re currently using this on the Forgotten Arts website which is yet to launch. It integrates nicely with WordPress too. We researched a whole bunch of options and Checkfront came out tops.

How will these tools help make your life/website/business run more smoothly?

I’d love to hear how this helps you! I read all your comments.