For the past two weeks, we have been talking about the balance required of school leaders in the summer. First, we tackled the importance of making space for leisure. Then, we explored how to make a strategy to get some work done in the spaces between all the leisure. This week we are shifting focus.
Using your time during the summer to think about bigger strategy goals is a smart use of your time. One of the best ways to implement a solid strategy is to use tools that can help you do the job well. There are a few tools that I use to help me run my business efficiently that I think would work well for schools, too.
Note: I am not an affiliate for any of the companies linked here. I’m not making money off of this post, just sharing things I genuinely love and think will help you.
Today, I present you with my favorite tech tools, or apps, to help school leaders implement strategy.
- A parent emails you and tells you that they need to meet with you about the fundraiser.
- You reply and let them know you are happy to meet and send them a link.
- When they open the link, they see all of the times you have available for meeting with parents. Everything they see is pre-set by you based on your preferences.
- They pick a time that works for them.
- The appointment is entered into both of your calendars.
- You each get a reminder before the meeting starts, based on your settings.
- Everyone shows up on time and in the right place for the meeting with no stress.
I can’t really tell you how much having a scheduling app has changed my professional life. I never EVER have to do a back and forth exchange with someone to find a time when we can meet. We skip all that and just use a link that shows the times I’m available and they pick one that works for them.
My tool of choice is Calendly. Honestly, it is the only one I have used but I love it. I have different links for different needs. For example, people scheduling one on one coaching with me get a link that directs them to the days I block out for coaching. An attorney inquiring about my services as an expert witness gets a different link to book a shorter call more quickly. Everyone gets what they need and I don’t have to coordinate any of it.
Imagine how much time you would save if every meeting you scheduled was booked through a link and you didn’t have to think about it? Ahhh…..
Did you like all of the automated features in the scheduling tool? Then you are going to LOVE the brilliance of automation apps like Zapier and IFTT (If This Then That). These programs coordinate automations between your calendar, email, accounting, google forms, website, paypal, and many other apps and services you likely already use.
- A parent wants to tour your school. They click a button on your website that leads to a Google Form.
- They fill out the form with the information you need to collect from them.
- When the form is submitted, it automatically triggers an email from you thanking them for wanting to tour. The email includes a link to Calendly.
- The Calendly link invites them to schedule a time to tour. They choose one.
- The tour is booked in your calendar and theirs. You both get reminders.
- When they book the tour another email is triggered sending them all of the necessary brochures or paperwork they need. The email links to another Google Form that is an application for enrollment.
- When they submit the application, an invoice for the application fee is automatically generated in your accounting software and sent to the parent.
- When they pay the application fee, a gratitude email is automatically sent to them with your signature.
The possibilities for how you use these automation apps are nearly endless. If you have a creative, curious person in your office, give them the job of figuring out all of the potential automations you can set up to make your school run more smoothly.
Have you ever wanted to put inspiring Montessori quotes into a pretty square to post on social media? A lot of folks think it requires hiring a designer to make them for you. While that’s one way to go, it probably isn’t the best use of a school budget.
Open source technology has transformed access to information and design. You can make business cards, letters, flyers, social media posts, email headers, website images and a lot more with software like Canva. It is often free or very inexpensive.
You know the pretty picture at the top of each blog post with the name of the post in it? I make those on Canva for free. In fact, just about every image with words you see in my emails, social media posts, or on my website are created for free in that program.
Programs like this are a great way to improve your school’s image with little investment or training. Everything is done for you by professionals, all you have to do is change the words or picture to fit your needs.
As you ponder the best use of your time this summer, consider learning more about some of these apps. Taking the time to learn how to use them now could set you up for a seriously efficient school year. Embrace technology that will make leadership easier and more smooth.
Want to know another great way to set yourself up for leadership success in the fall? Reserve your spot now for one on one coaching from August through December! Monthly support calls paired with extra email support are the exact thing you need to hold yourself accountable and keep your strategy on track.