Time Management Tip: What to Do When You’ve Double-Booked Your Schedule

What to Do When You've Double-Booked Your Schedule You pull out your smart phone or paper planner and start to review your appointments for the day.

You look at one appointment, then another…and then it hits you.

You realize you’ve double-booked your schedule.

What should you do?

Today’s post offers a few suggestions to help you correct your error and set things straight.

First things first…

Don’t panic.

You may feel upset, frustrated and annoyed with yourself for accidentally double-booking an appointment.

It’s okay to feel crummy.

The thing you don’t want to do is panic; panicking won’t help you fix the situation.

As soon as you’ve realized your error, take a deep breath, hold it for a count of five, exhale and then bring your mind into focus for the next step which is to…

Evaluate your appointments.

Sometimes it’s easy to figure out which appointment should be canceled.

Perhaps one appointment isn’t as urgent or important as the other, or you can’t possibly physically travel to the appointment location in time.

Then there are those times when you have equally important meetings.

Which one should you keep and which one should you cancel and/or reschedule?

Take the following into consideration in your evaluations:

  • Is this a one-time appointment or part of a series of recurring and regular appointments?
  • How difficult was it to schedule or book the appointment in the first place? Is it likely you’ll be able to reschedule the appointment in the near future?
  • Is the appointment time-sensitive, that is, is there a specific decision that will be made during the appointment that will decide how you work or make a decision in the near future?
  • What is your relationship to the people involved in the appointment? Is it a coworker, client, friend or family member? While all of your relationships are important, which relationship at this very moment in time must take precedence?
  • Do you absolutely have to attend the appointment? Could someone else attend one of the appointments in your place or on your behalf?

Reach a decision and communicate ASAP.

As soon as you make your decision it is imperative you immediately you cancel and/or reschedule your appointment.

Opt for the quickest and most direct route of communication with your contact, be it a phone call, text, email, etc.

Is your contact unreachable? Leave a message: let them know you need to postpone the meeting for a later date, ask them to please confirm the cancellation and also offer a couple of dates or times you are available for your next appointment. Tell them you’ll also try to reach them via another mode of communication (the idea here is to connect as soon as possible).

Try the next mode of communication and repeat the same message. Depending on your situation, you may want to keep trying to reach the person live to make sure they indeed received your message.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Now to you…when was the last time you accidentally double-booked something? What steps did you take to correct the situation? Do you think you’ll follow those same steps again? Leave a message below and join in the conversation!

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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