Effective Scheduling Tools and Techniques for Consultants

Improve employee attendance

Are you a consultant struggling to keep up with the workload? From answering client emails and scheduling meetings to managing projects and billing clients – the day-to-day management of an agency can be overwhelming.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can streamline your resource management and run your consultancy much smoother and more efficiently.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some useful scheduling techniques and review the top scheduling software for consultants that is sure to help you simplify the process. So, if you’re looking for ways to free up some time in your schedule and be able to focus on what really matters – read on!

How to Create the Perfect Schedule for Consultants

1.    Plan out workloads

Workload management is an indispensable part of resource scheduling in any type of business. After all, a poorly-managed workload can lead to missed deadlines, unhappy clients, and a drop in overall productivity.

To avoid such troubles and plan out workloads in a consulting agency like a true expert, follow the below tips:

  • Understand the needs and goals of each client: This means taking the time to really listen to their needs and expectations, and ensuring that their project gets the attention it deserves.
  • Create an action plan: Then, break down each project and task into smaller, more manageable pieces. This allows you to see how the task fits into the bigger picture and simplifies the estimation process a great deal.
  • Estimate tasks: If your team has tackled a similar task in the past, use that as a starting point for your estimate. However, don’t assume that everything will go smoothly this time around – always add some padding to your estimate for unforeseen roadblocks.
  • Communicate with clients proactively: Keep them informed of progress, any changes to timelines, and other relevant updates. This helps to build trust and ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing the likelihood of surprises or misunderstandings.
  • Stay open to feedback and adjust accordingly: This means regularly assessing workload, reviewing processes, and seeking out opportunities for improvement. By doing so, you can stay ahead of potential pitfalls and streamline processes to boost productivity and client satisfaction.

Use actiTIME to plan out your projects, assign tasks to employees, and estimate them in an accurate way.

2.    Predict resource availability

Of course, there’s always a bit of unpredictability in the field of consulting, but by staying on top of client needs and analyzing your team’s performance data, you can make informed decisions and keep your agency running smoothly:

  • Assess resource requirements in upcoming client projects: This will help you determine the expected workload for your team and identify any potential gaps in expertise that may need to be filled.
  • Explore each consultant’s strengths and weaknesses: By knowing their skill set, you can give them assignments that align with their expertise and ensure that everyone is working on projects that they are competent in. This will not only lead to better job satisfaction but also to higher-quality work.
  • Analyze the historical data on employee availability: Look at the patterns and trends that you have observed over time. For instance, are there certain times of the year when employees tend to take more leave or are there particular days of the week when staff members ask for time off? By examining these patterns, you can make more accurate forecasts for future employee availability.
  • Understand the factors affecting employee availability: It goes without saying that personal circumstances and reasons for taking time off can vary from one employee to another. However, common factors affecting employee availability on the organizational level can include unbalanced workloads, lack of incentives, and poor resource allocation.
  • Factor in any employee turnover or resourcing conflicts: If you know that an employee is due to leave your agency or if there are any conflicts that need to be resolved, make sure you take these into consideration when predicting resource availability.

actiPLANS makes leave management a breeze and provides invaluable data on staff absences that helps to predict employee availability and allocate resources more efficiently.

3.    Visualize

It’s said that our brains process visuals several thousand times faster than text. So, when we see a visual representation of our schedule, it’s much easier for us to process and comprehend the information. Thus, we can more effectively plan our day and understand the sequence of events.

If you want to get your schedule in order, ditch cumbersome spreadsheets and embrace the power of the visual. Follow these tips to make it work even better:

  • Determine the key information that must be displayed in your schedule: This may include the time and day of the consultation, the name of the consultant, the topic or project being discussed, and any necessary preparation or materials required. Just remember to keep it concise and to the point, so the schedule isn’t overcrowded with unnecessary details.
  • Prioritize projects and tasks based on urgency and complexity: Create a detailed project timeline that outlines key milestones and deadlines + identify any potential roadblocks and risks. By doing so, you can allocate resources and adjust timelines as needed to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
  • Create the visual schedule: There are a plethora of templates and online tools available to create visually appealing schedules that are nice to look at and easy to read. One such example is actiPLANS, a resource scheduling tool that helps to assign work to employees on a visual timeline in a truly effortless way. The best part about actiPLANS is that it’s highly customizable, giving you the freedom to create custom work activities and add different colors to make your schedule stand out.
Work scheduling

actiPLANS offers a simple, visual, and flexible way to schedule resources while taking staff absences into account.

4.    Track billable and non-billable time

Billable hours are the lifeblood of consulting agencies. They are the hours that generate revenue and directly impact the bottom line. Consultants who bill less than their full potential are costing the agency money. And let’s be honest, nobody wants a consultant who can’t bring home the bacon.

However, it’s also important to track non-billable hours – even though they don’t generate revenue directly, they are crucial to the smooth functioning of the agency.

Neglecting to track non-billable time can create an illusion of high utilization rates, putting the agency at risk of overbooking consultants, causing strain on client relationships, as well as unnecessary burnout of employees.

So, here’s what you can do to track all your time as accurately as possible:

  • Categorize your time into billable and non-billable hours: This may seem obvious, but it’s important to establish a clear distinction between the two. Billable hours are those you can invoice your client for, while non-billable hours include tasks like internal meetings and training, which are also crucial to the success of your consulting agency.
  • Invest in a reliable time tracking system: A tool like actiTIME enables you to record every minute of your working time and track performance progress with ease. It even has features that coordinate just perfectly with your invoicing system, while its user-friendly interface and customizable settings make it a great match for your consulting agency’s unique needs.
  • Automate the time tracking process: Manual time tracking can be tedious, inaccurate, and time-consuming. By using actiTIME’s fully automated activity tracker or the mobile app with one-click timers, you can boost efficiency multifold and avoid costly data errors.
  • Run time tracking reports to evaluate ongoing progress: actiTIME offers several reports that show how your agency is utilizing time, assist in identifying areas where you can improve efficiency, and even highlight who’s churning the most billable hours. The cherry on top? These reports can be customized and exported into various formats, making it easy for syncing with your other management tools.
Time Management Assistant

actiTIME offers several convenient options for tracking your billable and non-billable hours. Choose between a weekly timesheet, a calendar, a mobile app, or a fully automated browser extension – Time Management Assistant.

5.    Monitor costs to improve resource utilization

Cost tracking is not just a good financial practice – it’s essential for optimizing resource scheduling in your consulting agency. It can reveal which projects are the most profitable, help to prioritize these projects, and allocate your best resources accordingly – because why waste time and effort on less profitable projects when you could be making more money elsewhere?

Cost tracking also helps agencies to identify areas where they can cut costs and reduce unnecessary expenses to free up resources for other projects or clients.

And finally, cost tracking can give you a better understanding of your overall resource utilization. By analyzing how much money you spend on each project or client, you can identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. This helps to ensure that resources are used effectively at all times.

Here are a few simple tips on how to track costs in your consulting agency:

  • Identifying your key performance indicators (KPIs): These are the metrics that matter most to your business, such as billable hours per consultant, the rate of client satisfaction, and your project completion rates. Then, collect relevant data to track and analyze them regularly.
  • Establish a budget for each project: Track your expenses meticulously and compare actuals against projected costs in regular reports. This will help you identify areas where you may be overspending and adjust your resource allocation.
  • Analyzing team productivity: Low team productivity is expensive! You need to identify which employees are performing at optimal levels and make sure they are given the resources and support they need to maintain that level of productivity. Similarly, if you notice a consultant who consistently underperforms, address the issue and provide additional support or training to help them improve and optimize their productivity.
Profit / Loss Report, actiTIME

Analyze team productivity and keep tabs on staff-related expenses with actiTIME to promote improvement and make data-driven decisions on resource allocation.

Top 5 Scheduling Software for Consultants

1.    actiPLANS

  • Visual timelines
  • Leave management
  • Employee self-scheduling
  • Flexible settings
  • Automated notifications
  • Time tracking integration
  • iCal integration
  • Mobile app

actiPLANS is the scheduling solution that consulting agencies have been waiting for – with its customizable settings, automated notifications, and invaluable reports, it’s a true game-changer. So, get ready to say goodbye to work scheduling headaches and hello to a stress-free experience!

First off, actiPLANS features visual timelines that make team scheduling an absolute breeze. No more squinting at a spreadsheet and trying to decipher who’s available and when – actiPLANS lays it out in a clear and easily digestible format.

More than that, actiPLANS provides your team members with no-brainer self-scheduling tools so that they can plan out personal time off and set preferable work dates on their own.

Leave Scheduling

actiPLANS lets you create multiple custom work types and leave types for scheduling purposes. Plus, you can fine-tune time off accrual according to your needs and automate the approval of incoming leave requests. This way, the system streamlines the entire time off management process and helps to ensure that all team absences are taken into account when making schedules.

Custom leave types

If you don’t have time to manually remind team members of upcoming client meetings and schedule changes, you will appreciate the system’s automatic notifications. And if your consultants are constantly on the go, be sure to introduce them to actiPLANS Mobile – this app makes it super easy to submit leave requests no matter where you are, check on colleagues’ availability, and inform them about last-minute schedule changes without a hassle.

actiPLANS mobile

On top of that, actiPLANS can be seamlessly integrated with actiTIME – a multifunctional time tracking solution that helps to manage workloads, estimate tasks, track billable hours, and analyze team performance in depth.

Timesheet / Calendar

Lastly, actiPLANS features several handy reports that you may use to predict employee availability, analyze absence trends, and make data-driven decisions on resource allocation.

Sign up for a free actiPLANS trial today and enjoy a truly simple work scheduling process!

Best for: Simple work scheduling and progress tracking.

Pricing: From $1.2 per user a month; free version available.

2.    CalendarHero

  • 60+ integrations
  • Automated scheduling
  • Self-booking for clients

CalendarHero is an intelligent scheduling assistant that streamlines your scheduling process by automating the tedious back-and-forth emails that are all too common when trying to arrange meetings.


This smart scheduling assistant seamlessly synchronizes with your existing calendar and takes care of all the scheduling details, from finding the best dates and times for a meeting to sending out invitation emails and handling any unexpected changes.

Whether you are scheduling one-on-one meetings, group meetings, or even virtual conferences, CalendarHero makes it incredibly easy and efficient. You can easily view all your upcoming appointments, coordinate with colleagues, and personalize your settings to meet your unique schedule needs.

Best for: Scheduling video meetings.

Pricing: From $8 per month; free version available.

3.    Setmore

  • Automated online booking
  • Online payments
  • Multiple integrations
  • Reminders
  • Recurring appointments

Setmore allows businesses to effortlessly manage their online bookings, automate schedule reminders, and increase customer engagement.

With its easy-to-use interface, you can create appointments with just a few clicks, avoid double bookings, manage customer information, and even keep track of employee schedules.

Plus, Setmore offers a wide array of features that can be tailored to suit your business needs. For instance, you have the option to integrate it with an online payment system and bill clients directly in the system or create custom booking pages and set up email and SMS notifications.

Best for: Client self-booking.

Pricing: From $5 per user a month; free version available.

4.    Teambook

  • Capacity planning
  • Visual boards
  • Time tracking
  • Resource management analytics

Teambook is a user-friendly tool for scheduling and organizing your team. It helps you easily visualize everyone’s workload, so you can plan ahead and allocate resources with ease.

With Teambook, it’s easy to ensure your resources are utilized to their full potential. It offers a set of nifty features that allow you to assign tasks to team members based on their availability and competencies so that no one gets overburdened or left one-on-one with insurmountable tasks.

Teambook also lets you track progress and communicate with your team members all in one place. That way, everyone’s on the same page, and you can keep an eye on who’s falling behind or where you need to step in to help out.

Best for: Matching consulting experts’ skill sets with customers’ needs.

Pricing: From $45 a month; free version available.

5.    Planday

  • Punch clock
  • Team communication
  • Reports
  • Integrations
  • Cost tracking
  • Schedule templates

Planday is a cloud-based workforce scheduling software designed to simplify and streamline employee management. It offers a comprehensive suite of features that enable users to track labor costs, manage time off requests, and even communicate with staff members seamlessly.

Planday frees up resources by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as creating schedules and approving time off requests. Not to mention, it ensures compliance with labor laws and regulations, which could save your business a mountain of money and potential lawsuits in the long run.

The platform also integrates with other software your business already uses. For instance, you can sync it with payroll providers and point-of-sale systems to secure yourself a truly seamless experience.

Best for: All-around workforce management.

Pricing: Starting from €2.99.


A well-crafted schedule is like a well-tuned engine powering your consulting agency. It connects your staff, clients, and resources, and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Effective staff scheduling helps to optimize resource utilization, enhance customer satisfaction, and stimulate growth and expansion. Conversely, consulting firms that operate without effective scheduling systems tend to have higher operating costs, mismanaged resources, and reduced customer satisfaction. And with outcomes like these, it’s truly hard (if not impossible) to thrive as a business.

To rid yourself of such troubles, be sure to start using actiPLANS. With its flexibility and special features you can’t find anywhere else, it will take the extra burden out of your resource management workflows so that you can come into each day confident that everything is running smoothly.

Plus, the free trial means you have nothing to lose! Go on and give it a chance: try using actiPLANS today.

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