Is your calendar swamped with appointments and meetings?
Are you hesitant to say “no” to any and all meeting and appointment requests you receive?
When things get busy, it’s tempting to dig your heels in and proceed with your previously booked commitments in the name of getting things done.
This approach isn’t always the best method.
Sometimes, we need to stop and evaluate which of our appointments take precedence.
In this post, I offer a few practical reminders as to why you should take the time to prioritize appointments in your calendar or schedule.
You place value on your schedule.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of following a booked schedule as-is. After all, we book appointments with the intention of attending them. But when the going gets rough, the very best thing you can do for yourself is to honor and respect your time.
It doesn’t matter what your profession is, how old you are, what you do for a living, or how many years of schooling you have; your time is important. When you take the time to prioritize your appointments, you show yourself, and others, that you are serious about your calendar and goals. You are sending a clear message that you are not at the beck and call of anyone who puts an invite out into the ether.
The next time you receive a non-urgent or voluntary invitation, ask yourself whether or not this appointment adds value to your immediate needs and goals. Will this appointment contribute to your progress, leave you in a holding pattern, or at worse, hold you back from what you need to do? If the appointment is in sync with your needs and goals, you can accept it. If it doesn’t, you can politely let it go, or if need be, postpone it for a future date.
You reinforce the fact that not all appointments are equal in weight.
Did you know that not all appointments hold the same weight or value? There are first-time or introductory appointments, such as when you are meeting a potential vendor for the very first time, recurring appointments, such as when you’ve already established a solid working relationship with an organization, and final appointments, such as when you’re wrapping up a long-term project or assignment.
When you take the time to prioritize engagements on your calendar, you are forced to recognize that each of your professional and personal appointments has it’s own weight or value. It quickly becomes apparent that given a particular set of circumstances, some appointments are relatively more important than others.
If you have difficulties completing projects and assignments in a timely manner, you may want to try evaluating the relative weight of each of your appointments. Doing so will help you focus on what really matters at that particular point in time.
For example, let’s say you’ve double-booked an exploratory call with a potential vendor and a final wrap-up meeting with a client. In the interest of tying up loose ends, and keeping your client happy, you’d want to keep the final wrap-up meeting with your client, and reschedule the exploratory call for another time.
You give yourself ample time to do your work.
One thing that’s often overlooked when it comes to scheduling appointments, is the time needed to complete work in preparation for an appointment. Having a series of appointments booked back-to-back isn’t all that effective if you don’t have adequate time to prepare.
When you take the time to prioritize your appointments, you gain a better understanding of exactly what needs to get done for each particular appointment. No longer are you simply “winging-it,” you’re actively engaged in working to make your appointment a success. You fully cognizant of the fact that it takes time to complete your work. So much so, that you are prepared to set aside time in your schedule to actually do the necessary work.
A useful way to view your appointments and the required, necessary work in your calendar, is to view the lot as an appointment sandwich. The appointment can be thought of as the filling, while the time before and after the appointment acts as the bread. Which items or tasks do you need to take care of before the appointment (the bottom layer of bread of the sandwich), and which items or tasks do you need to take care of after the appointment (the top layer of bread of the sandwich) the appointment?
How about you? Which of these points resonated the most with you? What steps will you take time to prioritize your appointments in future? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!