Prioritizing your appointments and to-do-lists are key when it comes to productivity and time management. What if you have a calendar full of appointments and meetings? These also need to be prioritized. If you say “yes” to each and every request when you already booked, you end-up spreading yourself too thin. As a result, conflicts will arise and you’ll fall behind on your most important tasks. Eventually this can lead to you burning yourself out.
Before you start booking appointments, take the time to evaluate which appointments take priority over others. When you understand the priority concept, you can prioritize your appointments to have the most impact.
Prioritizing your appointments helps you achieve your goals.
You’re not going to book an appointment just for the sake of booking an appointment. Instead, the appointments that you will help you reach your goals.
Let’s say that you just launched a startup and are looking to attain new prospects or investors. The goals of your appointments could be building relationships, sharing your vision, or metrics like revenue, selling a specific product, or the number of sales calls you make in a day.
While that’s not an extensive list, the first step in prioritizing appointments is to make sure that they align with your goals. If an appointment doesn’t help you reach a specific goal, then they should be delayed, delegated, or deleted.
Gives you the appropriate time to get your work done.
Booking back-to-back appointments may sound great in theory. Unfortunately, this isn’t a smart approach.
Before an appointment we need time to prepare. For instance, if you’re a CPA or tax adviser, then you would want to review your client’s information prior to the appointment. This way you know the financial or tax advice you need to provide your client. As a result, the meeting will be more productive and less time-consuming for both you and your client.
After an appointment, you need time to catch you breath, grab a snack, follow-up with the client, and attend to administrative tasks like returning emails.
By prioritizing your appointments you’ll have a better understanding of what exactly needs to be done before, during, and after the appointment. Besides making appointments more efficient, you’ll know how long the appointment will take. Now you can appropriately schedule your entire day so that everything that needs to get done does.
Saves time, money, and your sanity.
Prioritizing your appointments will save you time. Instead of devoting much of your day to appointments that aren’t productive, you can focus solely on the appointments that help you achieve a goal.
This can also save you money. For example, if you’re not prioritizing tasks then you may schedule too many employees during non-peak hours. As a result, you’re paying your team to basically stand around. Even worse, you may be understaffed during peak hours.
And, most importantly, prioritizing your appointments keeps you sane. As opposed to constantly “winging it” and rushing from appointment to appointment, you can remain calm, cool, and collected. You’ll also have time to decompress and catch your breath.
Prioritizing, prevents conflicts from occurring.
When you don’t prioritize your appointments there’s a greater chance that conflicts will arise.
For instance, because your accepting every request, you may end-up double-booking events. You may also run late to your next appointment, which means your prospect or client is wasting their time waiting for you.
If you’re working with others, these conflicts could be be being over-or-understaffed. Again, this can be costly and keep your customers waiting.
When you prioritize appointments you’re only focusing on the most important appointments. This reduces conflicts because instead of booking too many appointments, you’re only setting the amount of appointments that you can handle in a day.
Helps you prepare for the unexpected.
No matter how prepared you are, you can always be certain that the unexpected will happen.
You or your client may be forced to cancel or reschedule because of a family emergency, inclement weather, or putting out a fire at work.
While you can’t plan for every scenario, you can develop a couple of contingency plans. For instance, if you have a meeting booked with a high-profile client or investor, you could have your co-partner on stand-by just in case you can’t make the meeting. This way the meeting goes on, instead of having to reschedule several months from now.
Places value on your schedule.
Time is without a doubt your most valuable asset. But, if you accept each and every appointment, you’re letting others disrespect your time.
By prioritizing your appointments you’re clearly letting others, as well as yourself, know that your calendar and goals are your top priority.
Again, this allows you enough time to either delay, delegate, or delete non-important invitations.
Forces you to recognize that not appointments are equal.
Not all appointments are equal. As such, you should evaluate the appointments currently in your calendar and determine which ones are more important than others.
For example, a discovery or introductory call with a potential client shouldn’t carry as much weight as an appointment that wraps-up a project with a long-time client. While you shouldn’t completely cancel that introductory call, it should be rescheduled if it interferes with the more important appointment, which is keeping your existing client happy.
Achieves work-life balance.
We all want to achieve work-life balance. It’s only one of the most effective ways to be happy with the life that you have.
Prioritizing appointments can help achieve work-life balance since you’re only blocking out time for your most important appointments. When these appointments, and only these appointments, have been met you can focus on the things that really matter in your life. This includes spending time with your family, friends, hobbies, or side projects.
Tips on prioritizing your appointments.
Of course, prioritizing appointments is easier said than done. Here’s a couple of ways that you can create an effective schedule.
Plan your week.
This may take a couple of hours on a Friday evening or Sunday night, but it will make you week run much smoother. Start by listing all of your tasks and appointments for the week, aka your “A” responsibilities. Next, identify your most important tasks and appointments and schedule them first.
Block out time.
Schedule your priorities first and then, if you have the time, schedule in your “B” appointments and tasks. Don’t forget to include some white space so that there’s flexibility in your schedule.
Delete and delegate.
What about the appointments or tasks that aren’t “A” or “B?” Either scratch them or hand them off to someone else.
Use online appointment scheduling software.
This allows customers and your staff to book their own appointments or schedules. Because you control when you’re available, they can only select open slots. As a result, you eliminate those back-and-forth emails or phone calls. This software also sends out automated confirmations and reminders.
What’s the purpose?
When a client requests an appointment online, don’t be afraid to generate an automated message asking what the purpose of the appointment is. This way you know the purpose of the meeting before committing to it. If it’s not important, and you’re swamped, it can wait until a later date.
Start saying “no.”
If the meeting doesn’t meet a goal, then don’t hesitate in politely rejecting the request.
Analyze your appointments.
Finally, evaluate the time spent on appointments. For example, if an average appointment takes 20-minutes, then you can start blocking out 30-minutes for future appointments — 20 minutes for the meeting and 10 minutes for preparation.
This gives you a chance to know how many appointments you can realistically book in a day.