3 Ways to Avoid Overbooking Your Schedule

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3 Ways to Avoid Overbooking Your ScheduleDo you regularly overextend yourself when it comes to booking appointments or meetings?

Are you tired of having a jam-packed schedule, day-in, and day-out?

Dealing with an overbooked schedule can be extremely tiring and wearing.

All the more reason to put an end to the chaos and get your calendar back in order!

In this post, I offer several tips to help you avoid overbooking your schedule.

Follow these simple tips to keep your schedule trim and healthy.


Schedule personal time in your calendar.

One of the hallmarks of an overbooked schedule is not having enough time to take care of personal or even household affairs.

You may feel as if you don’t have any time to relax and decompress after a long week at work or school.

Household chores, such as paying bills, shopping for food, and doing laundry, inevitably get pushed back, or completely ignored.

You can remedy this situation by putting yourself and your affairs first by scheduling these items directly into your schedule. You won’t have to guess as to when you will have some time for yourself, or take care of household chores; they will already be on your calendar.

What’s more, this process helps to set some much-needed boundaries. You will be able to clearly see when your personal time begins, and when work time ends. This will help you better gauge whether or not you should take on additional or optional appointments.

Your schedule now has clear and obvious consequences: scheduling a non-urgent appointment on Tuesday night will cut into your personal relaxation time.

Consult your calendar before committing to anything.

Do you automatically say “yes” to social functions because you *think* you might have time? Our perception of time can be quite different from what actually is written in our calendars. So much so, that we may accidentally double-book appointments or overextend our schedules.

Before you commit to any appointment, meeting, event, or function, be it for work or personal reasons, take a moment to consult your calendar. Even if you’re 85% sure you don’t have something scheduled on Thursday at 7 P.M., it only takes a couple of seconds to check your smart phone or paper planner.   

What about those times when you don’t have immediate access to your calendar? Simply tell your contacts that you need to check your calendar and will be in touch with them shortly via text, email, or phone. Consult your calendar, and then confirm or reschedule your appointment as needed.

Avoid viewing time as an emergency.

It’s extremely important to understand that time isn’t an emergency. It will keep ticking on whether or not we pay attention to it. Time will also keep ticking on whether or not a schedule is filled.

You don’t have to accept a last-minute invitation because it was offered to you. You don’t have to fill a recently cancelled meeting with another meeting. And you certainly don’t have to drop your carefully laid plans to deal with someone else’s drama or agenda.  

A schedule doesn’t necessarily need to be filled to full capacity or overbooked in order for it to be important. Always remember that your schedule is important simply because it is your schedule! Take a relaxed approach instead: if you don’t have time for something now, schedule it for later. It’s as easy as that.

How about you? How do you avoid overbooking your schedule? What steps have you taken in the past to ensure you have enough time for yourself and loved ones? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2014.

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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