How to Spend Your Time When a Meeting is Canceled

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How to Spend Your Time When a Meeting is Canceled It’s 9:30 A.M. on a Wednesday morning.

You check your email and see a message saying your 2 P.M. appointment has been canceled.

What great news!

You could fill that time with another appointment, catch up on some work you’ve been meaning to do, or you could do something even more daring…

In this post, I offer a somewhat provocative solution to spending your time when a meeting is canceled.

Make the Most of Canceled Meetings

Canceled meetings don’t happen very often.

But when they do, oh what a magnificent feeling they bring!

You feel relieved, perhaps even a bit happy or optimistic.

Of course, our first instinct is to fill up that canceled appointment or meeting with more work, another appointment, or running errands.

You’ve suddenly received an hour or so of free time, so you might as well fill it with something productive, something useful, right?

I couldn’t agree more. However, you may be missing the boat when it comes to making the most of that free time.

Brace yourself, this tip might sound slightly unconventional…

The solution?

Do nothing.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment…

Why You Should Do Nothing

What? Do “nothing?” Yes, you read that correctly. Now, you still might be in shock, and that’s perfectly alright. Let me explain…

One of the keys to time management is knowing when to work, and when to rest. A canceled meeting or appointment is literally time handed to you on a plate. It is the perfect time to stop what you’re doing, and just live in the moment.

Some people may think a canceled appointment is a good time to plow ahead and get a jump on whatever project or assignment is gnawing at them. Yes, this can be useful in certain situations and circumstances, such as when you are working on a deadline.

And yes, you can get things done, but why not take a break from your work?

Don’t believe me? Glance back for a moment at all those times over the past several months when you:

  • Wished you had a quiet moment to yourself with no interruptions
  • Wanted some time in the middle of your day to catch your breath
  • Were exhausted from a major work project and wanted to rest up
  • Wished you could take a decent break from staring at the computer screen
  • Wanted to enjoy your coffee break outdoors in the bright sunshine

Sound familiar? Now, I ask you, are you going to let this time slip away from your fingers?

Are you going to say “No,” to free time handed to you in a neat and tidy package?

I know some people will think this use of time is frivolous or wasted. But for all those minutes and hours spent complaining there isn’t any time for a break, well, there’s the rub.

If you’ve ever wished for free time, let me gently remind you: it is sitting there right in front of you.

It will be okay, really, it will be! You won’t fall off track, or fall behind in your work, and the world certainly won’t implode.

What to Do Will Your Newly Found Free Time

Instead of filling your canceled appointment or meeting slot with work or tasks (and this will depend on whether you are at home, or at the office) you could:

  • Meditate or sit quietly
  • Read an enjoyable book or magazine
  • Enjoy a long coffee break
  • Gaze out the window and daydream
  • Take a nap

The next time a meeting or appointment is canceled, I hope you strongly consider doing yourself a favor, and take a much-needed break.

How about you? Have you recently had an appointment or meeting canceled at the last-minute? How did you react? What did you ultimately decide to do, fill it with more work, or give yourself a break? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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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.