Blog | Feb 20

Towards operational excellence – 5 time management tips for founders Operations Manager Pamela WRITTEN BY Pamela Halminen

Reading time 5 min

In between fundraising, setting up functions from scratch, and team building, time and calendar management might seem like small potatoes. But down the line, these play a crucial role in shaping the company culture and overall well-being.

In this blog, our Pamela Halminen shares 5 practical—perhaps even work life-changing—tips for founders and anyone leading a team on how to manage time effectively, transitioning from confusion to competence.

1. Share your calendar with the team

Share calendars within your team and organization; it just makes all scheduling much easier and faster. Remember, you’re still in control of your calendar’s visibility and can make any appointment or meeting private as needed.

I recommend adding some of your self-directed learning sessions, personal hobbies, and family time, also to the calendar. Transparency not only allows others to see when you are reachable but also helps your team members understand and respect your boundaries while enabling them to establish and maintain their own as well.

2. Mark the must-have dates

This is a task that can be done by anyone in the team; book in advance all the important days, such as public holidays, school holidays, employees’ holidays, strategy days, team building days, town hall meetings, and team dinners, to name a few. Plan and save those dates in the calendars for everyone in your organization. It’s much less hassle to do this exercise once, than several times throughout the year.

Schedule board meeting dates as early as possible; ideally, plan, schedule, and book these for the whole year. This proactive approach will be especially handy if you have many board members from external organizations, as it can get tricky to find common time slots.

Pro tip: opt for 30-minute or 45-minute meetings whenever possible instead of always defaulting to 1-hour meetings, as they are rarely necessary.


3. Schedule 1 on 1’s with your team

No matter the business or organization size, everyone benefits from scheduling 1 on 1 time slots in the calendar. The best practice–whether daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, and lasting 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or more—will become clear over time as you test and evaluate.

Scheduling meetings in advance lets team members know their questions will be answered. In the long run, this provides you, as a founder or leader, much valued uninterrupted time for sales work, deep focus or any one of the priorities you are juggling. It also allows you to actually make the time, avoiding constant busyness and the impression of neglect, which can lead to larger problems impacting company culture and well-being.

Team members, be prepared by making a list of what you need, want, and would like to discuss during these meetings. Reoccurring 1 on 1’s also provide a wonderful opportunity to check up on each other. If things are moving forward smoothly on all fronts, you could consider rescheduling meetings to occur less frequently.

On that note, when was the last time you asked your CEO how they’re doing?

4. Respect people’s time, protect booked meetings

Yes, once in a while life just happens and you may need to cancel a meeting, but don’t make it a habit. Even though people tend to be more understanding about internal meetings, when it comes to client and other external meetings, canceling is not a good look. If you are forced to cancel, try to give as much notice as possible.

Often, board members and investors have very busy calendars themselves, so, remember to keep that in mind. It’s also worth noting that participants might have declined many other engagements to attend this meeting with you – as such, it’s best practice to honor your booked meetings.

Keep transfer times in mind; we often tend to believe we are faster than the wind—or at least Google Maps estimations. If the weather is good, you might just make it, but you might need some extra time if, for example, you need to first dig out your car from the snow.

Speaking of traveling for meetings, consider which ones are best organized remotely and which will benefit from a face-to-face meet-up. While meeting in-person is lovely, some participants might have tighter schedules than you on the day. Run your in-person meetings as effectively as remote ones. Leave the chatting for before or after.


5. Own your calendar, book working time for yourself

As we often teach our kids, do one thing at a time. I recommend booking ‘working time’ slots for yourself – essentially, using your calendar to mark your to-do’s; but don’t fully book yourself. Leave breaks between the appointments and meetings. If scheduling a recurring lunch block helps you to find time to eat at least once a day, please do so. (We all probably make much nicer coworkers when we’re not starving).

You can add time zones in your calendar, use color-codes to prioritize different appointments and meetings, and add the meeting agenda to the calendar invite. This prevents agenda details from getting lost in email chains, ensuring everyone can access the latest version when the meeting begins.

Copy/paste calendar appointments and meetings and create email groups to avoid leaving anyone out from the calendar invite. Set reminders, make meetings reoccurring, and remember to block the time slots you have offered to others, so you don’t accidentally double book yourself.

Take advantage of applications like:

  • Calendly: a scheduling platform used for teams to schedule, prepare and follow up on external meetings
  • Doodle: an online calendar tool for time management and coordinating meetings
  • Superhuman: for scheduling events right from your email

These will ease your actual scheduling process. You can even add flight, train, event tickets and QR codes to the calendar for ease of access.

It's your calendar; you are in charge. If you have too much going on, break things into smaller chunks, move them around, push what you can for later, and, if possible, delegate. Sometimes, you need to be honest and brutal – just delete what’s not useful to you anymore. Calendar management should ease your workload and not cause you more stress.

As your company and team grows, having assistance in managing your calendar can be highly beneficial.

Please do share your best practises for time management, I’m very interested to know! Would you like to have more tips? Shall we book time in the calendars? You can reach me at

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