Episode 174

Aug 10, 2018

Stop making stuff harder for yourself. Just stop. Michael and Allissa share their favorite tips for efficiency with techy tasks.

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Stop making stuff harder for yourself. Just stop.

Michael and Allissa share their favorite tips for efficiency with techy tasks.

Sponsored by: Gift Up! and The Jojoba Company.


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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I’m Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines And I am Allissa Haines.

MR We’re your hosts. Welcome, welcome. Glad you’ve joined us today. Allissa, good to talk to you as always. What’s going on in your world? Are you enjoying your tiny office?

AH I am enjoying my tiny office, and I’m totally in my regular massage office today, which is a bummer. Now that I have my new tiny backyard office, I’m cranky when I have to record or do things in my regular massage office.

MR [laughs] You want to spend all of your time in your tiny office now, don’t you?

AH I really, really do. It’s so —

MR It’s so cute. I love it.

AH It’s wonderful. Where are you? Are you at home on your couch or are you at SpinWeb headquarters?

MR I am not. I’m in my normal office with my view of the interstate out the window.

AH Oh, that’s so nice. What’d you have for lunch today? We haven’t talked about food in a long time.

MR I know. My default is Chipotle. I had Chipotle today.

AH Ah.

MR Yeah, ever since they introduced queso at Chipotle — I love their bowls because I get a burrito bowl with all the chicken and the guac and everything, and then I put queso on it. And it just takes it to a whole new level.

AH I did not even know that they added queso.

MR It is. They have queso now. It’s life changing. Yeah.

AH Wow. Good on you then.

MR Good on me.

AH I cooked. I did really great meal prep this weekend. I prepped some breakfast meals that are like a hard-boiled egg, a couple slices of cheese, an apple. And I prepped some lunch bowls that are some pesto that I made with some roasted vegetables and just a tiny bit of pasta because I’m trying to wean off carbs. So I’m going to eat lunch shortly and I’m really excited about my pesto.

MR [laughs] I think our favorite food interaction recently was when I said something about yeah, I’m watching Super Store at the gym and you sent back what’s the gym with a picture of a giant doughnut you were eating.

AH It wasn’t giant. I was just the angle. It was a regular-sized doughnut.

MR It looked giant to me. I was impressed.

AH I’m trying really hard to calm down with my carb and sugar situation because I was recognizing that I am angrily craving an iced coffee and a doughnut every afternoon, which is not healthy at all. So I got myself a bag of those Hershey’s miniatures, like the variety pack. So I can have one of those in the afternoon just to stave off my sugar craving, then I’ll wean to having them every other day, and then not at all. I know I can do this; I’ve done it before. It was stupid that I got back into the habit. And then I will start to wean off of the iced coffee and replace it with a decaf herbal iced tea or something. So today I’m allowed to have one Hershey miniature and my iced coffee.

MR Treat yourself.

AH Yeah, it’s a crazy, crazy day. Michael, what’s our topic today?

MR Our topic is quick tips for techy efficiency. I’m pretty excited because I love talking about techy efficiency.

AH Yeah, and it’s something that comes up — there’s just a few little tips that if you know, you’re going to make yourself look wicked smart. When you’re interacting with people in the real business world, there’s a couple of things that will ultimately make your life much, much easier, and also make you look smart.

I’m totally going to sell out people. We do this — every so often, we do a guest episode, or an interview episode, of this podcast. Every so often on a Tuesday, we’ll publish a great episode interview with someone who has something to day deeply into a massage business related topic. And when we do that, I have be like hey, can you send me a headshot? More often than not when I request a headshot from anyone, not just guests on the podcasts, the filename is something like headshot, which is awesome because you’re going to be able to find your own headshot on your computer easily. But when I’m looking for your headshot on my computer, because it’s saved to my download file or something, it doesn’t help me if your name’s not in it. So by simply making the filename something easy on your headshot or your resume, which is a thing you might actually have to send out to people, or your ad for printed material, you’re going to make it easier for other people to find and store the files that you might need to send them. So your headshot should say — mine should say haines headshot 2018, if it’s a headshot that was taken this year so that I can find it easily, I know it’s the most updated one, and then when I sent it to somebody, they’re going to be like oh, there’s Allissa’s headshot. allissa haines headshot 2018, okay.

Ditto that for the resume. I have a couple of different resumes. I have one handy if I was to apply for a massage job and also handy if I was to apply for a teaching job. So I actually needed to get my resume to Michael the other day, and it was easy to find because it said allissa haines instructor resume — May 2017 was the last time I updated it. So I knew that it needed to be looked at because I probably have stuff I’ve done since then to update, to add to it. So I was able to look it up, add anything I needed to do, and then rename it haines instructor resume June 2018. Now I know it’s the most current one and it’s easy to find, and anyone I’m sending that to is going to easily be able to find it once it’s downloaded to their own computer or their own drive.

Ditto that for your own logo files. You don’t just want it to say portrait logo, that’s it. You want it to say portrait logo haines massage January 2018 — because that’s the last time I had new logos made. square facebook profile logo haines massage January 2018. It sounds silly, but every time you have to revise a file or adjust an image, name it properly so that you’re not having to resize your logo for Facebook every six months when they change their little thingy or whatever. It makes it so much easier to find things when you open a new account and you need to put a logo file in there or you need one for your sign. If you already have one made in a landscape orientation, it’s so much easier to find it if it says landscape haines massage logo January 2018. You’re not accidentally going to send them your old logo from 10 years ago. Make things easier for yourself and easier for the people who are working with you so that all of your files are easy to find.

I know that’s super boring, but create a method and repeat it for every file. For me, it might say the project name, the actual item that it is, the title, and the date. So when I’m writing a column for ABMP magazine, the filename is usually ABMP column money management in your business August 2018 publication. And then it’s really easy. And when I say, Michael, can you look at the column I’m working on, he’s going to know which one is recent and which one I’m talking about. Create real specific filenames in a pattern and do that, follow that for everything.

Michael, tell me what you think about that.

MR Yeah. I like it. Precision is naming is a big pet peeve of mine so I love it. The more precisely you can name your files, the more organized you’ll be.

AH I struggle with it because it requires a certain amount of consistency. But I actually put it on a Post-it note and slapped it to the inside of my bullet journal or put it on a page in my bullet journal that’s a reference for naming files, and now when I go to name a file I can look at that — you can just keep a little note on your computer, too, on your desktop — that reminds you of your pattern until you remember it automatically.

So my next tip is to put all the information you need for a meeting in the appointment notes. When I schedule — when I put this podcast recording session onto the calendar, it has in the notes for the appointment the link that we’re going to use to meet online and record. When I teach our transformational journey course, every time that course appears in my calendar, in the notes it’s going to have the link for the online meeting. Ditto that for our office hours. Ditto that for any doctor’s appointment I make, I automatically, in those notes, put the address and the phone number of the doctor’s office so that if I’m on my way, I can open my Google calendar, I can be like oh, crap I forgot the address to that or did they move buildings, and I can immediately access that information. It makes it so much easier to have a meeting and to do the things I need to do and to get to the places I need to get when I don’t have to look at some old email from a month ago to find the address of the place I need to be at. When I am making that appointment, when I am putting it into my appointment software or my Google calendar or whatever, I immediately just copy and paste all of that information into the right spot so I have it handy when that event is happening and just before that event.

We’re going to do our halftime thing and then we’re going to talk about a really cool thing that Michael does with —

MR Yay.

AH Yeah, with all of his calendars because it has impressed me and it has helped me, so I want him to share it with the world. But, Michael, who is our halftime sponsor today?

MR Our halftime sponsor is — are you ready?

AH Ready.

MR Are you ready?

AH Bring it.

MR Are you sure?

AH Yes.

MR Jojoba.

Sponsor message Yay, this episode is sponsored by The Jojoba Company. We firmly believe that massage therapists should only be using the highest quality products because our clients deserve it, and our own bodies deserve it. I’ve been using jojoba for years because it’s nonallergenic; I can use it on any client and every client and not be concerned about an allergic reaction and also because it’s noncomedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores; so if you have clients that are prone to acne or breakouts — and dude, I work on teenagers so yeah, that happens — jojoba is a really good choice for them. The Jojoba Company is the only company in the world that carries 100% pure, first-pressed, quality jojoba and we are thrilled to be a longtime partner with them. You can get more information about jojoba by going to massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba, that’s J-O-J-O-B-A.

AH Michael, tell us about your Google calendar stuff.

MR Oh man. I’m so proud of my calendaring. I took me a while to get there, but — so I have multiple calendars. I have, I think last time I checked, I have seven, maybe eight different calendars that I manage. And this is because I have multiple businesses that I am involved in, that I own, that I am partners in, whatever. Just to name a few, SpinWeb is my digital marketing agency that I own, obviously you and I have Massage Business Blueprint, there’s a calendar for that. I’ve got other businesses, and so each one of them has their own Google calendar. For a while I was going crazy trying to figure out how I manage all these calendars and interface with the appropriate people in those individual companies. So for example, my team at SpinWeb, we’ve got seven people in the company and they need to be able to share calendars with me and schedule appointments and so forth. Same thing for other companies. Finally, I stumbled across this method that works really, really well for me, which is to set up a master calendar and then pull in all of the other calendars into that master calendar.

I’m going to get a little philosophical for just a moment — I’ll try not to belabor the point too much, but for so long I was wrapping my identity up into my primary business, which was SpinWeb. I was like, okay, well, who I am is wrapped up in SpinWeb and so I have to make that my master calendar and everything else is secondary. I’ve since changed my mindset to be a little more of the mindset of that hey, I am me, I am a person, I happen to have ownership and involvement in other business, but they don’t define me. I am setting my own schedule and then I’m going to treat all of these other business and calendars on an equal landscape of scheduling.

What I’ve done is, I’ve made my personal Gmail account my master calendar. My garden-variety Gmail calendar, my email address@gmail.com, that is my master calendar because that is tied to me. That’s my personal account. What I’ve done is I’ve taken all of the other business calendars and I share them with my main Gmail calendar with the rights and privileges so that I can add, update, edit, and manage events in my master calendar. What that does is that means I got to my master Gmail calendar, all of my other calendars are pulled into it and color-coded accordingly — so every business has its own color code so I can easily see what’s what — and then I schedule all of my appointments directly from my main master calendar and everything just falls into place.

Now, the tricky part of this is by itself you can’t really share calendars with other people you work with very easily because they can only see one calendar at a time unless you give them access to all seven calendars and then it gets really messy for them. So I’ve set up an app called Calendly. It is an online scheduling app — it’s not really online scheduling for massage therapists, it’s more online scheduling for business meetings. It’s called Calendly. There’s a free account that lets you schedule one event type per calendar, which actually works well for a lot of people I think — you need just probably one. What I do it I have Calendly accounts set up for each business and then I give people a Calendly link for that business, if that’s the business I’m working with them through, and it will check all my other calendars and make sure it only schedules during open time that is free on all of my calendars. Does that make sense the way I described it?

AH Kind of but it was way more than we needed.

MR Oh, sorry.

AH No, it’s good. But I figured that would probably happen.

MR I am prone to soapboxing about cool things I do sometimes.

AH Yeah. But what I wanted to share was Michael told me about how he was doing this and I, like many of you, have a massage practice but also a whole bunch of other balls in the air. I’ve got this other side gig of Massage Business Blueprint, and then I have my personal life of my own doctor’s appointments and chiropractor appointments and things, and then I have this shared family calendar with Dr. Boyfriend to arrange the kid’s schedule that’s also shared with their mom.

I was having a hard time because previously I used to just put all my personal stuff into my massage scheduling system, which I use Acuity right now. It’s wonderful I love it. I used to just put things in as a personal block. But I couldn’t do that with the kid’s stuff because I need to see what’s going on with the kid’s stuff but it doesn’t always mean blocking off my massage schedule for that and ditto that for Massage Business Blueprint stuff. I found that — I looked at how Michael was doing it and I created my system based on that which was very much a master Google calendar that all of my other stuff is imported in. So I can click a couple of buttons, look at everything at once. I can look at my massage schedule, I can look at my Blueprint schedule, I can look at my personal stuff, and I can look at the family schedule all at once so that if Dr. Boyfriend says hey, I need to go into work early this day, can you take the kids to school, I can look at it all and go, yes, yes I can; I don’t have any clients scheduled. It’s not perfect because I still have to go to my Acuity scheduling system and block out that morning, but I can look at it all at once, and many times I don’t have to go to a secondary system if it has nothing to do with the work day. It’s just made my life a lot easier to see what’s going on and know when I can schedule stuff.

It’s also helped me seeing that big picture of my massage schedule superimposed on my personal life, it’s helped me see what I want to take off. I’ve been thinking about reworking my massage office availability and seeing it all in one place really, really helped me to make the final decision that I am going to not work every Friday at the office anymore. It’s been really big-picture helpful so we might have to have Michael do a webcast on this or something. Utilizing calendars well is one of the biggest and most important techy tips I think we can give you because it will help you manage your time well and it’s a thing a lot of people are afraid of but can be really, really helpful. So anything else to say about calendars, Michael?

MR No, no. Sorry for the extreme detail.

AH No, I was glad you did that because it allowed me to loop back and talk about how someone that might not need something like Calendly can utilize it in our lives.

MR Sure.

AH I was really just making fun of you. I’m glad you shared.

MR Fair enough.

AH The next thing, similarly to putting all of my notes and information for any particular appointment in my calendar, I like to put all my project notes together in one place. For example, I was asked to write a foreword for a business book by my friend Kelly Bowers that’s going to be coming out in the fall. So I got a couple of emails that were like hey, would you like to write this foreword? Here’s what’s involved in it. I was like, heck, yeah. And then I got an email from the publisher that was like, okay, here’s what’s expected of you, this will be the timeline, this is the turnaround, here are the people you need to cc on the email when you hand that project in, and here’s a couple of things we’ll need from you. Awesome. I start thinking about it. And then I get another email that was like, okay, we’re definitely going to have the proofs for you on this day, the due date is this day, again it needs to have this information, and it’s got to be shared with these people. And by then, eight weeks had passed so it was a different list of people it needed to be shared with, like a different copywriter or something, and I was like, whoa Nellie, holy mackerel, how am I going to remember all this?

But it was great because the second I said yes to this project, I opened a Google doc — or you could do it with a Word doc or however you do your word processing — I created a file in my Google drive, I opened a doc, and I immediately pasted in all of the information from all of the emails I’d received. So the whole first page of the document was just notes. It was Kelly’s initial “would you consider writing a foreword, here’s what’s involved.” The next block of text was the email from the publisher about what it involved and then the final one. And then the next page was some of my research. I’d never written a foreword before so I literally googled how to write a foreword for a book, found a couple of articles that were really helpful, and I slapped those links into that document. Then I made notes, before I even got proofs of the book to read, I made a couple of notes for myself, here’s what to think about when you’re reading this book. Knowing now a little bit more about what a foreword involved because I’d never done this before. It was great because then I got the proofs, I reviewed my notes: okay, this I what I’m going to need to give them, this is what I want to keep in mind while I’m reading this book, here are some ideas of what I want to include in the foreword. So I read the book with the foreword in mind and it was so much easier than any take I’ve ever done because I had fully prepared myself for the main chunk of the task.

Preparation is 95% of any particular task and there’s that “if you got to cut down a tree, you spend 90% of your time sharpening the axe”. I don’t know — I totally hacked up that little idiom, but whatever. It was so easy and I found when I do that, the things that I have to write and/or do are a hundred times easier. I knew I was going to need to spend some time working on a new print ad to go in the Relay for Life program, so as soon as I had the information for that year’s Relay for Life, I opened the document, I put the date of the event, I put the date that the ad was due, I had a link to a picture of the ad we did last year, I made a few rough notes of things I was going to want to change, and then when I actually sat down to re-do the print ad, I had everything I needed in front of me just to do it. It was great. It’s along the same lines of make a rough outline before you sit down to write something, but it was so nice to do that now for every single little project I have. So when I set down to do the project, I’m not having to do a hundred hours of leg work just to get my stupid little thing done because it’s already there. I didn’t have to go back and reread that or re-find that email because I already put it where I needed it.

That is my final tip, which is put things where they need to be so you can utilize those bits of information when you actually have to do the task. I wish there was a more concise way to say it, but I don’t have it. And that’s it for my techy tips. Got anything else Michael?

MR No I like it. I think some good tools for that are Evernote, google drive, lots of good tools for that. Even Dropbox has its own Google drive-esque document system. Wunderlist is also — you can use Wunderlist to attach files and notes and subtasks to things.

AH And you know, back when I used Wunderlist, that totally worked for me. I found that I’m trying to minimize the amount of tools I use so, for me, google drive and a bullet journal does what I need it to do.

MR Yeah, yeah.

AH And for more creative things, I don’t even open a Google drive doc until the very end but I’ll have a page in my bullet journal of things that I do better with hand written. And that’s a personal thing. Yeah, there’s so many great tools. Pick your favorite couple of tools and use them to your greatest extent. That’s it.

MR Tell us what you guys use as well. If you have favorite tools and favorite techy tips, send us what you do and maybe we’ll share it next week as well or next time around and collect your best feedback as well. Anything else you got or we good?

AH I’m done, man, I’m done.

MR All right, awesome. We will wrap it up there then. Thanks, everybody, for joining us. We appreciate you listening. You can find us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com. We’ve got a premium member community with a lot of fun stuff there including a free article every month to use for your own website, a private Facebook group — which is the best Facebook group on Facebook, I’ll just have to say it — office hours for peer mentoring, stock photography which is getting released in August, all sorts of great things. Check that out and if we can do anything to help you, you can email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. Send us questions and topics. Thanks for joining us today. We will see you next time.

AH Bye.

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