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164 February Holidays and Observances

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164 February Holidays and Observances

Isn’t February the worst? Well, unless you can zoom to the Rockies for a couple of good ski days…

I know that there are some notable happenings like Black History Month, the long President’s Day Weekend, the Super Bowl, and multiple viewings of Groundhog Day. Overall though? You’re still coming down for the holidays, you’ve already broken your New Year’s Resolutions, and the weather is atrocious.

The good news? You can make the shortest month of the year more tolerable by celebrating the following holidays and observances.

February 1

  • Baked Alaska Day: Also known as omelette norvégienne. This decadent dessert is said to have originated at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City in 1876 to honor the newly acquired territory of Alaska.
  • Dark Chocolate Day: Do we really need a reason to celebrate dark chocolate? Not really. But, if you do, just know that dark chocolate contains nutrients that can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Freedom Day: It was on this historic day in 1865 when President Lincoln and a joint House and Senate resolution signed a resolution that would become the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery.
  • Get Up Day: Following National Skating Month (January), the Get Up Campaign was launched in 2017 “to help skaters and non-skaters alike to recognize the grit, passion, and perseverance needed to Get Up in the rink and life every day.
  • Serpent Day: Personally, I’m terrified of snakes. But, I’m also a realist and realize how beneficial they are to the ecosystem.
  • No Politics Day: It’s normal to feel exhausted after an election. But, the 2020 Presidential Election, and the last four years overall, have been brutal. We all deserve a much-needed break from politics, even if it’s just for one day.
  • Texas Day: Back on February 1, 1863, a group of Texas delegates declared the Lone Star state’s secession from the Union. However, this wasn’t granted until February 23, 1861.

February 2

  • Candlemas: As defined by Britannica, this is a “Christian festival on February 2 commemorating the occasion when the Virgin Mary, in obedience to Jewish law, went to the Temple in Jerusalem both to be purified 40 days after the birth of her son, Jesus, and to present him to God as her firstborn (Luke 2:22–38).”
  • Groundhog Day: Did you know that Groundhog Day has its roots tied to Candlemas? Via History, on this day, the “clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting the weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.”
  • Heavenly Hash Day: What the heck is a heavenly hash? It’s not what you think despite its title. Depending on the region, it can be a fruit salad, candy, or ice cream. The common ingredient, though, is marshmallows, marshmallow creme, or whip.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day: According to the CDC, arthritis affects roughly one in four adults overall — which comes out to over 54 million Americans. To raise awareness, visit the Arthritis National Research Foundation.
  • Tater Tot Day: This tasty kitchen staple was invented back in 1953. We can thank F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg, founders of Ore-Ida, who got creative with leftover pieces of potatoes.
  • Ukulele Day: Did you know that the Hawaiian nickname ukuleletranslates to “jumping flea” in English?
  • World Wetlands Day: This environmentally-related celebration dates back to 1971. For ideas on how to observe and spread awareness, head over to www.worldwetlandsday.org.

February 3

  • Carrot Cake Day: While this may seem like a more recent dessert, carrot cake can be traced back to a Medieval favorite simply known as carrot pudding.
  • Doggy Date Night: As a dog owner, I can proclaim that dogs are the best things on Earth. So, on this day, spend a little extra time with your best friend by taking them to the park. You could also take them on a long car ride or to get groomed.
  • Feed the Birds Day: To help birds survive the winter, fill-up a feeder with seeds and pick-up a new hobby like bird watching.
  • Girls and Women in Sports Day: 2021 marks the 35th Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD). “Every year, this celebration inspires girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full power. ”
  • Missing Person’s Day: Approximately 2,300 Americans, both children, and adults, are reported missing daily. Visit sites like National Missing and Unidentified Persons System on how you can help.
  • The Day the Music Died Day: It was on this day in 1959 that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” passed away tragically in a plane crash.
  • Women Physicians Day: February 3rd is the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman to obtain a medical degree in the United States in 1849. 2021 will be her 200th birthday.

February 4

  • Create a Vacuum Day: The exact origins of this holiday are unknown, but you can celebrate it by learning more about the science of vacuums and/or sucking up those dust bunnies you’ve been neglecting.
  • Hemp Day: Fun fact, it used to be illegal not to grow hemp. For example, because it was such a valuable crop, the Assembly of Jamestown Colony in Virginia passed legislation in 1619 that required all farmers to grow Indian hemp seed.
  • Homemade Soup Day: Soups have been warming us from the inside for around 9000 years! Celebrate this day by making your favorite homemade soup.
  • Stuffed Mushroom Day: Stuffed mushrooms didn’t become featured at restaurants until the 1940s or 1950s. Back then, they were a delicacy.
  • Thank a Mail Carrier Day: Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster General? That’s an awesome fact. But, now more than over, show your carrier how much you appreciate everything they do.
  • USO Day: The United Service Organizations was established on February 4, 1941, and has provided live entertainment and programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families since.
  • World Cancer Day: Created in 2000, this global initiative aims to reduce “the number of premature deaths from cancer and non-communicable diseases by one third by 2030.”

February 5

  • Bubble Gum Day: The first commercial bubble gum, Dubble Bubble, was invented in 1928 by Walter Diemer in Philadelphia.
  • Chocolate Fondue Day: Although fondue was billed as a national dish of Switzerland in 1875, chocolate fondue wasn’t invented until the early 1960s in New York City — by a Swiss, of course.
  • Give Kids A Smile Day: Launched in 2003 nationally by the American Dental Association, the Give Kids A Smile program has given more than 5 million underserved children free oral health services.
  • Shower with a Friend Day: You don’t have to literally do this; that would be awkward. In reality, this was a marketing ploy by a company that makes water filters “to encourage people to shower in filtered water that is free of chlorine.”
  • Wear Red Day: Celebrated on the first Friday in February, it’s suggested that you wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease.
  • Weatherperson’s Day: “The day commemorated the birth of John Jeffries in 1744. Jeffries, one of America’s first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774, and he took the first balloon observation in 1784,” explainsthe National Weather Service.
  • World Nutella Day: I love this hazelnut cocoa spread, which has been around since 1964. Apparently, I’m not the only avid fan since the American blogger Sara Rosso established the first World Nutella Day on February 5, 2007.

February 6

  • Chopsticks Day: Here’s an interesting fact, cooks in China began using chopsticks to prepare food way back around 1200 B.V.
  • Frozen Yogurt Day: Believe it or not, yogurt has been around for about 5,000 years. However, frozen yogurt wasn’t a thing until H.P. Hood introduced “frogurt” in the 1970s.
  • Ice Cream for Breakfast Day: To entertain her children on a snowy day in the 1960s, Florence Rappaport in Rochester, New York, came up with this activity that has since become a global celebration.
  • Lame Duck Day: This day recognizes the ratification of the 20th Amendment, aka the Lame Duck Amendment.
  • Pay a Compliment Day: Created by Adrienne Koopersmith, on February 6, 1995, this day is all about giving “genuine and soulful compliments” to others.
  • Play Outside Day: Celebrated on the first Saturday of every month, you should spend the day outside as much as possible. It will do wonders for your health and wellbeing.
  • Take Your Child to the Library Day: 2021 marks the 10th Anniversary of the holiday where you and your family should, well, visit and support your local library.

February 7

  • Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: “The first National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) was marked in 1999 as a grassroots-education effort to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment in communities of color,” explains HIV.gov.
  • Dump Your Significant Jerk Day: How can you observe this day? It’s simple. Finally, end that toxic relationship you’ve been once and for all.
  • Fettuccine Alfredo Day: Fettuccine with butter has been a recipe in Italy since the 15th-century. However, the dish that we’re more familiar with was invented by Alfredo di Lelio in Rome in 1892.
  • Periodic Table Day: Why celebrate the Periodic Table on this day? Well, it’s the publication date of the first table of elements.
  • Send a Card to a Friend Day: If we’ve learned anything from COVID-19, it’s how important staying in touch with others has been. So, why not sit down and write a handwritten letter to a friend, family member, or co-worker just for the heck of it.
  • Super Bowl LV (55): The big game will be a little different this year, but you’re probably going to be close to one of the 100 million watching when it goes down at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 6:30 p.m. ET.
  • Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day: Even if you don’t have the best relationship with all of your neighbors, greet them with a big wave to show your appreciation or to just put a smile on their face.

February 8

  • Boy Scout Anniversary Day: On this day in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America were incorporated.
  • Clean Out Your Computer Day: Falling on the second Monday in February, the Institute of Business Technology started this in 2000 to remind people to organize and declutter their computer, as well as backup all of your programs.
  • Football Hangover Day: While relatively newer, it became official in 2019; this has been observed since 1967, football fans are encouraged to recover if they overindulged the night before.
  • Iowa Day: Spend the day learning about the Hawkeye State, which became the 29th state back in 1846.
  • Kite Flying Day: Did you know that kites date back to China in 470 B.C.?
  • Laugh and Get Rich Day: Laughter truly is the best medicine as it boosts your immune system, improves cardiac health, increases endorphins, and strengthens relationships. As such, find ways to laugh as much as possible on this day.

February 9

  • Bagels and Lox Day: A perfect excuse to enjoy this Jewish-American tradition by devouring a bagel topped with cream cheese, lox, red onion, and capers.
  • Cut the Cord Day: Sling, a live TV streaming service, introduced the first-ever, official National Cut the Cord Day in 2020 to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
  • Extraterrestrial Culture/Visitor Day: Recognizes the UFO incident that occurred in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 by celebrating past, present, and future relationships with extraterrestrial visitors.
  • Pizza Day: Since pizza is my favorite food, I already have this marked on my calendar. But, did you know that pizza can be traced back to the 10th Century in Naples, Italy?
  • National Toothache Day: Definitely a weird and unusual holiday. It’s meant to remind you to book an appointment with your dentist.
  • Read in the Bathtub Day: We could all use a little self-care these days. And, what better way to do that than by enjoying a good book while soaking in a bathtub?
  • Safer Internet Day U.S.: This day is meant to promote safe, positive, and responsible technology use. After the last couple of years, this is a must. Head over to https://saferinternetday.us/ for more information.

February 10

  • All The News That’s Fit To Print Day: In 1897, Adolph S. Ochs, owner of the New York Times, first printed the newspaper’s famous motto, “All the news that’s fit to print.”
  • Cream Cheese Brownie Day: Brownies have been around since the 1800s. However, the first documented recipe in 1906 in The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.
  • Flannel Day: I’m a big fan of flannel here. So, I did a little digging and found out that the fabric originated in Wales around the 16th Century.
  • Home Warranty Day: Homeowners have been observing this holiday since 2016. Adding it to your calendar will remind them to review their policies. And to make sure that they have the appropriate coverage.
  • Teddy Day: In 1902, a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman lampooned Theodore Roosevelt’s bear hunting trip — here refused to shot a bear that was tied to a tree. This inspired Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn candy shop owner, to create a stuffed animal known as “Teddy’s Bear.”
  • Umbrella Day: Did you know that umbrellas have been around for 4000 years? They were first discovered in the historical Mesopotamia region in Western Asia.
  • World Pulses Day: “World Pulses Day is a designated United Nations global event to recognize the importance of pulses (chickpeas, dry beans, lentils, dry peas and lupins among others) as a global food,” states the Global Pulse Confederation. “It has been proclaimed on February 10 of each year since 2019 by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 20, 2018.”

February 11

  • Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day: The jest behind this holiday is to stop fussing over things that can’t be undone. As such, it’s the perfect day to let go of regrets and learn from past mistakes.
  • Get Out Your Guitar Day: It’s believed that the guitar originated in Spain sometime in the 16th century deriving from a late-medieval instrument with a waisted body and four strings known as the guitarra latina.
  • Inventors’ Day: First proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, this event takes place on the birthday of Thomas Edison.
  • Make a Friend Day: The key to health, happiness, and a long life? Friendships. So, go out and make some new friends on this day!
  • Peppermint Patty Day: These minty and tasty treats have been around since 1940, thanks to the York Cone Company based in Pennsylvania. The company merged with Hershey in 1988.
  • Shut-In Visitation Day: Over the last year, I would say that many of us have become shut-ins. And, that type of isolation isn’t good for our health and wellbeing. Spend the day contacting others or stopping by — even if you’re socially distancing and wearing masks.
  • White Shirt Day: Why observe this holiday? It commemorates the historic auto worker strike that ended on February 11, 1937, resulting in GM recognizing the United Autoworkers Union.

February 12

  • Chinese New Year: For the uninitiated, the Chinese New Year is a festival celebrating the beginning of a new year based on the traditional lunar calendar. Also, in 2021, it is the year of the Ox.
  • Darwin Day: Did you know that Charles Darwin was born on the same day as Abraham Lincoln on February 12, 1809?
  • Georgia Day: It was on this day in 1733 that the Province of Georgia was founded. The Peach State would become the 13th Colony and 4th state to enter the Union.
  • Lost One Penny Day: Pennies don’t get much love these days. But, they have a long history. In fact, it was Benjamin Franklin who designed the first penny and introduced it in 1787.
  • NAACP Day: Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States
  • Plum Pudding Day: Not really sure why we celebrate Christmas pudding in February, but if you’re feeling festive, give this English plum pudding recipe a try.

February 13

  • Break Up With Your Carrier Day: Made official by T-Mobile, the company promises to make it as painless as possible to break-up with your current wireless provider.
  • Cheddar Day: This holiday was created in 2019 by cheese manufacturer Tillamook. It celebrates one of the most famous cheeses in the States.
  • Galentine’s Day: As Parks and Recs fans know, this holiday was created by Leslie Knope. “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style,” Leslie explained in the “Galentine’s Day” episode. “Ladies celebrating, ladies.”
  • Tortellini Day: While disputed, both Bologna and Modena, located in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, claim to be the birthplace of tortellini. Regardless, celebrate the day by whipping up this delish homemade recipe.
  • World Radio Day: Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, it’s encouraged that we learn about the evolution, innovation, and connection of radio.

February 14

  • Cream-Filled Chocolate Day: Would it be easier to just buy these at the store? Probably. But, you think if you make your own homemade filled chocolates, you’ll definitely be earning some brownie points.
  • Douglass Day: As explained over at douglassday.org, this “is a holiday that began around the turn of the 20th century. After the passing of Frederick Douglass in 1895, Black communities across the U.S. gathered to celebrate his birthday every year on February 14th.” It’s believed that this would serve as the inspiration for Black History Month.
  • Ferris Wheel Day: Did you know that the world’s largest Ferris wheel is in Las Vegas. Appropriately known as the High Roller, it stands at 550 ft. (168 m)?
  • Organ Donor Day: If you haven’t done so yet, add this to your calendar so that you can register to become an organ donor.
  • Quirkyalone Day: Despite the misconception, this isn’t an anti-Valentine’s Day. Rather, Quirkyalone Day is all about celebrating self-love regardless if you’re single or not.
  • Valentines Day: Before he was known as Cupid, he was known to the ancient Greeks as Eros, the god of love.

February 15

  • Angelman Syndrome Day: Via the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, “(AS) is a rare neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 live births or 500,000 people worldwide. It is caused by a loss of function of the UBE3A gene in the 15th chromosome derived from the mother.”
  • Gumdrop Day: Purportedly, Percy Trusdale invented gumdrops in 1801.
  • Presidents Day: Fun fact, President’s Days doesn’t fall on the birthday of Washing or Lincoln — or William Henry Harrison or Regan, who also have birthdays this month. Instead, it’s celebrated on the third Monday of the month thanks to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
  • Singles Awareness Day: Were you alone on the 14th? No worries. Today is the day for singles to celebrate.
  • Susan B. Anthony Day: Born on this day in 1820, Susan B. Anthony is remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement — which paved the way for the 19th Amendment. But, were you aware that she was arrested for illegally voting in the 1872 presidential election.
  • Wisconsin Day: The Badger State became the 30th state in 1848 but the first European. French explorer Jean Nicolet visited back in 1634.

February 16

  • Almond Day: Although originally from central and southwest Asia, 80 percent of the world’s almonds are now grown in California.
  • Do A Grouch a Favor Day: Sure. Big Bird might have come up with this idea on “Sesame Street.” But, if there’s an Oscar in your life, do something nice for them.
  • Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras: Falling on the day before Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and is the culmination of Carnival.
  • Paczki Day: Our friends in the Midwest may be familiar with this holiday. But, if you’re not, it’s a Polish-style pastry that is traditionally filled with prunes. It falls on the same day as Fat Tuesday, so that you can splurge before fasting for Lent.
  • Pancake Day: Also known as Shrive Tuesday in the UK, it’s another traditional feast day prior to Lent.

February 17

  • Ash Wednesday: In the scheme of things, Ash Wednesday is relatively new, with the first ceremonies taking place sometime in the 11th Century CE. Also, here in the U.S., it didn’t gain mainstream popularity with Christians until the 1970s.
  • Cabbage Day: Did you know that there are more than 400 varieties of cabbage? Time to start trying them out since cabbage is loaded with Vitamin C, proven to be a cancer determent, and provides headache relief.
  • My Way Day: Today is the day that you tap into your inner Frank Sinatra and do things your way.
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day: Doing and witnessing kindness gives us hope, increases happiness, and can make the world a slightly better place. If you need some inspiration, visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
  • World Human Day: Started in 2003 by Michael Levy of Point of Life, everyone is encouraged to meditate for two minutes at 3 pm Eastern Time to find the true spirit of freedom and peace that lives within us all.

February 18

  • Battery Day: My man Ben Franklin has popped up several times already. And, here he is again. After all, he coined the term “battery in 1748. However, it referred to “charged glass plates.”
  • Crab Stuffed Flounder Day: Did you know that there are 100 different species of flatfish known as flounder. Celebrate the day by making this crab-stuffed flounder recipe from the Food Network.
  • Cow Milked While Flying In An Airplane Day: What’s this obscure holiday about? Well, on February 18, 1931, Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly and be milked in flight during the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Drink Wine Day: Drink Wine Day has been taking place for over 8,000 years, originating in the Eurasian region — this is in modern-day Georgia — the country, not the state.
  • Pluto Day: Discovered in 1930, the ninth planet has been on quite the journey. In 1992, its planet status was questioned. And, then in 2004, it was degraded to a dwarf planet.

February 19

  • Chocolate Mint Day: Here’s a fun fact for all my fellow chocolate mint lovers out there, the Girl Scouts began selling their most popular cookies, Thin Mint, in 1953.
  • Caregiver’s Day: Since 2016, the third Friday of February is reserved to give props to selfless professional caregivers.
  • Lashes Day: Did you know that people have focused on eyelashes since around 4000 BCE?
  • Tug of War Day: Tug of war has been practiced worldwide, particularly in Cambodia, ancient Egypt, Greece, India, and China. for centuries. And, it was even a part of the Olympic Games from 1900 until 1920.
  • Vet Girls RISE Day: Founded in 2019, this day aims to bring awareness and provide opportunities to the contributions of women veterans — which they’ve been doing since the Revolutionary War.

February 20

  • Cherry Pie Day: While Morello cherries are preferred when making pies, you can also use black or Montmorency cherries as well. To see for yourself, try out this classic cherry pie recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.
  • Love Your Pet Day: Those of us who have a pet typically have lower stress, are more active, and happier. Return the favor on this day by going on an extra-long walk, giving them a special treat, taking them to the groomer, and making sure that their vaccines are up-to-do-date.
  • Muffin Day: In print, the word muffin first appeared in 1703 and was spelled moofin. But, enough with the history. Here are 60 muffin recipes you can put to good use on this day.
  • World Day for Social Justice: First observed in 2009, the UN General Assembly has named February 20 as the annual World Day of Social Justice. Spend the day educating yourself and discussing issues like gender equality, human rights, poverty, and social protection.
  • World Whale Day: Whales, they’re just like us! These majestic mammals breathe, have warm-blood, feed their young, play, sing, grieve, and cooperate with each other.

February 21

  • Card Reading Day: No, this isn’t about Tarot card reading. Instead, it’s getting sentimental and reading any greeting cards that you’ve saved.
  • Grain-Free Day: For some, a grain-free diet has health benefitslike reducing inflammation, enhancing weight loss, and lower blood pressure. And, it’s a must for those who are allergic to wheat or have celiac disease.
  • International Mother Language Day: First announced on November 17, 1999, by UNESCO, this annual observance is meant to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, as well as multilingualism.
  • Sticky Bun Day: Originally known as “Schnecken,” a German word. It’s not surprising that it’s believed that these tasty treats were brought to Pennsylvania by German settlers.

February 22

  • Be Humble Day: ” Don’t be humble. You’re not that great.” — Golda Meir
  • Cook a Sweet Potato Day: Despite their name, sweet potatoes are not potatoes. They’re a root vegetable in the morning glory family.
  • Margarita Day: While there are several variations of this refreshing drink, “the basic recipe is Blanco Tequila (though reposado is a popular and delicious variation), mixed with lime juice and orange liqueur, often served in a glass with a salted rim,” writes Kara Newman for Wine Enthusiast.
  • Recreational Sports & Fitness Day: In honor of the 50th Anniversary of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, the first-ever Recreational Sports & Fitness Day began on February 22, 1999.
  • Walking the Dog Day: Here’s something to share with your fellow dog owners when walking your four-legged best friend. Jim Buck is credited as the first professional dog walker in New York City in 1960.
  • World Thinking Day: Since 1926, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), along with Girl Scouts of the USA and the other WAGGGS member organizations, have celebrated what it means to be a peacebuilder.

February 23

February 24

  • Inconvenience Yourself Day: You might assume that this an odd holiday where you put yourself into precarious situations. In actuality, it’s about helping others, like shoveling the snow from your elderly neighbor’s walkway.
  • Tortilla Chip Day: If you’re a devourer of tortilla chips, like yours truly, today is the day to overindulge. And, if you’re curious, it’s believed that Rebecca Webb Carranza invented tortilla chips in Los Angeles in the 1940s.
  • World Bartender Day: You might not have patronized your favorite watering hole lately, but you can still support your bartender on this day however you see fit. After all, bartending is one of the oldest professions going back to the 1400s!

February 25

  • Chili Day: The first written recipe for chili con carne dates back to 1519! Head over to National Chili Day for more trivia and recipes to try on this day.
  • Chocolate Covered Nut Day: Goobers are believed to be the first chocolate-covered peanut candy in 1925.
  • Clam Chowder Day: The debate between New England and Manhattan clam chowders has been so heated that in “1939, a Maine legislator introduced a bill outlawing the use of tomatoes in chowder.”
  • Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day: Engineers Week has been going strong since 1951. On this particular day, however, the focus is on inspiring girls to get into engineering.
  • Toast Day: On the last Thursday of the month, enjoy a slice of toast with jam, Avocado, or cinnamon and sugar.

February 26

  • For Pete’s Sake Day: The idiom, “For Pete’s sake,” originated as a substitute for “for Christ’s sake. Since the early 1900s, though, it’s been used as a replacement for any profane expression.
  • Pistachio Day: I have no problem finding an excuse to crack open some pistachios or consume pistachio ice cream or gelato. After all, they’re delicious and packed with antioxidants and nutrients like potassium and B6.
  • Skip the Straw Day: On average, we use 1.6 straws per day. If you weren’t aware, that’s terrible for the environment and wildlife, ranging from birds, fish, and turtles. On this day, avoid using plastic straws and purchase more sustainable options. You could also ask local eateries to not automatically provide plastic straws.
  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day: Researchers have found tales that date back to the Bronze Age!
  • Yukon Heritage Day: Since 1976, people in the territory spend the day celebrating with activities like the Sourdough Rendezvous. There’s also a fiddle contest, snow sculptures, and air show. It falls on the Friday before the last Sunday in February.

February 27

  • Anosmia Awareness Day: Launched in 2012, this day is meant to spread awareness about the loss of smell. Since this is a symptom of COVID, there may be more attention to this condition than in previous years.
  • International Polar Bear Day: PBI “founded the day to coincide with the time period when polar bear moms and cubs are snug in their dens. As part of our celebration, we focus on the need to protect denning families across the Arctic.”
  • No Brainer Day: This fun and made-up holiday encourages all of us to stop overanalyzing, do less, and take it easy.
  • Pokémon Day: It was on this day in 1995 when the world was first introduced to Pokémon. At the time, this was a game on the original Game Boy.
  • Retro Day: The jest behind this holiday is to revisit a time when we weren’t glued to our phones and internet. It also gives us a reason to dust off our favorite clothing, gadgets, music, and movies from back-in-the-day. However, you don’t need to wait until February 27 to do this if you frequently use these 10 strategies to reduce screen time.
  • Strawberry Day: Did you know that strawberries are the only fruit that has their seeds on the outside?

February 28

  • Chocolate Souffle Day: Vincent La Chapelle authored the recipe for omelette soufflée in Le Cuisinier Moderne in 1742. If you want to attempt to make your own chocolate souffle day to honor this day, check out this instructional video.
  • Floral Design Day: This day celebrates the birthday of Carl Rittner. He was the founder of the Rittner School of Floral Design in Boston. In 1995 Massachusetts governor William F. Weld proclaimed it an official holiday.
  • Golden Globes: Hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the fourth time. You can watch the 78th Golden Globes on NBC.
  • Public Sleeping Day: Naps can restore alertness and provide an energy boost to get through the rest of the day. If only this was encouraged every day and not just once a year. Sigh.
  • Rare Disease Day: Did you know that 1 in 20 people will live with a rare disease at some point in their life? That’s why this day is so important to spread awareness about rare diseases.
  • Tooth Fairy Day: The Tooth Fairy that we’re familiar with can be credited to Esther Watkins Arnold. She wrote a playlet for children in 1927. However, myths involving baby teeth have been around for centuries.

How to Handle Appointment Scheduling When Schedules Change

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How to Handle Appointment Scheduling When Schedules Change

As Americans return to work, many are losing their 9-to-5 freedom. No longer can they book appointments whenever they please thanks to the flexibility of remote work prompted by COVID-19. Appointment-based businesses must know when and how to adjust their own schedules as work practices revert to the old norm. Here’s what you can do to handle your appointment schedule when schedules change:

Manage Walk-Ins Wisely

Walk-ins can be both a blessing and a curse for appointment-based businesses. On the one hand, walk-ins represent welcome revenue on slow days when appointments are hard to come by. On the other hand, turning prospective customers away due to high volume is always a bummer. The best approach is to allow a set number of walk-ins per day or per hour and to work everything else through appointments.

Some of your customers might not know their availability until after they clock out. This may prompt them to stop by in an attempt to squeeze into your schedule. Instead of playing the odds, use their desire to your advantage. Send out notifications to your customers informing them of available appointment slots throughout the day. This way they’ll know beforehand whether you’re full to the brim or whether there’s a slot they can book right then and there using their device. 

Adjust Your Business Hours

When your regular customer base returns to a 9-to-5 schedule, your own business hours might see a decline in appointment volume. To cater to changing needs, consider adjusting your business hours to accommodate schedule changes. This could involve opening up a little earlier and staying open a couple extra hours to give everyone an opportunity to stop by.

Before making any changes, gauge the interest customers would have in amended store hours. If you’ve been developing a personal relationship with them, you can ask directly. Otherwise, send a survey asking for input or do a week-long trial run to see whether the new hours are popular. 

Be sure to get your employee work schedules straightened out beforehand, though. You’ll need to know that you have people willing to fill the new time slots. 

Go Virtual

If the nature of your business allows it, try incorporating virtual appointments into your services. This allows customers to book appointments and phone in even while they’re at the office, filling your 9-to-5 slots when physical appointments are infeasible. The convenience of virtual appointments will also benefit stay-at-home parents who struggle with dragging the kids around for errands.

While we’re still a long way from virtual haircuts, plenty of appointment-based businesses can pull off virtual appointments. Healthcare providers can check in on patients’ treatment plans, for example, while counselors only need to speak with their clients to make an impact. 

When deciding to go virtual, make sure to do it right. Invest in proper sound equipment, solid internet service, and robust videoconferencing technology for a high-quality appointment experience. Ready yourself for virtual appointments by doing extra preparation in advance and brushing up on online etiquette

Take Advantage of Customers’ Availability

Even as your customers return to their desk jobs, you can still take advantage of certain times to lure them in. The most reliable is the lunch hour, when employees might grab a quicker-than-usual bite to eat so they can fit in an appointment before clocking back in. Capitalizing on these brief moments of availability will give your business a nice boost of revenue each day.

Take a page out of the restaurant industry’s book. To get workers to stop by for lunch, they offer specials available only during certain times of day. Any appointment-based business can use this tactic to give customers an incentive to book a lunchtime slot. For example, a car detailer can offer a free exterior wash for any customer who brings in their ride between noon and 2 p.m.

Bring Your Business to the Customers

Back in the olden days, doctors would travel to private homes to care for their patients. Bringing back this old trend mould allows busy professionals stuck at work until 5 p.m. to book more appointments with you. 

Remember our car detailer? They could travel to their customer’s place of business and clean out their car in the parking lot. This way the service is still being performed without the customer having to take time off work or sacrifice part of their evenings or weekends. Any appointment-based business with enough creativity can pull this off as long as there’s demand. 

Adjust Your Late and Cancellation Policies

What happens if a customer can’t make it to their appointment because their boss asked them to stay late? Take a look at your late and cancellation policies to determine how best to accommodate these types of scenarios. Some leniency on your part will encourage customers to try — and try again — to visit your business and develop loyalty to your brand.

Of course, there will always be times when your late and cancellation policies must be enforced. Repeat offenders shouldn’t be given the same benefit of the doubt as loyal customers who have to cancel last-minute due to unforeseen circumstances. 

As a business owner you’ll always have to make adjustments on the fly when circumstances change — and the workplace upheaval caused by COVID-19 is certainly one of those circumstances. As the 9-to-5 norm is re-established, work to give your customers the service they deserve, and you’ll always come out on top. 

Best Online Calendar and Scheduling Apps

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Best Online Calendar and Scheduling Apps

As a leader, you most likely keep a schedule. Your schedule keeps you on track and tells you what you need to accomplish each day. There may be meetings, appointments, and events listed that you don’t want to forget.

Leaders have always found that work and personal life intertwine and calendaring is the best weapon against missing the essentials in either world. With scheduling and calendaring, besides work requirements, your schedule also includes gym appointments, concerts, and your kids’ games or recitals.

Best Online Calendar and Scheduling Apps

Here are some of the top schedule apps for business owners that will help you juggle everything in your business and life. You’ll work smarter — and never again will you forget an appointment or task.

  • Calendar for smart scheduling, unifying all of your calendars, and time analytics.
  • Google Calendar for basic online calendar functions for Google users.
  • Apple Calendar for basic online calendar functions for Apple users.
  • Microsoft Calendar for basic online calendar functions for Windows users.
  • Deputy for scheduling employees at various locations as well as the capability to publish schedules through email or SMS, and create shifts.
  • Hot Schedules for business owners with a team of employees to oversee in industries like restaurants, hospitality businesses, retail, and recreation and entertainment.
  • When I Work for its compatibility with payroll platforms like Quickbooks and ADP and its mobile accessibility, online scheduler, messaging, and customer support features.
  • Timely for its dashboard view, scheduling feature, and cloud functionality.
  • Planday for its simple scheduling by job role, push notifications and email alerts, payroll reporting, labor cost and overtime tracking, and customer support.
  • Fleetmatics Work for field service management businesses that have this type of team, cloud-based system, and integration with accounting software like Quickbooks.
  • Shiftboard for employee and workforce management scheduling, communications tools, employee self-serve options, and time and attendance processes.
  • FreeBusy for its artificial intelligence, compatibility with Outlook desktop and web app, embed feature, and integration with major digital calendars.
  • Meekan for its ability to work Slack and HipChat, flight search, RSVPs, double booking alerts, and meeting reminders.
  • Meetin.gs for its functionality, live communication tools like Skype, Microsoft Lync, Google Hangouts, and teleconferencing.
  • NeedToMeet for its collaborative meeting scheduling and management, custom URL to invite attendees, notifications and comments, and a dashboard view.
  • X.ai for its personal virtual assistant capability and artificial intelligence.
  • Fantastical for Apple users wanting to try a different option with a critically acclaimed design and user-friendly features.
  • Yahoo Calendar for recreation event integration, solid to-do lists, and long-term planning.

Best Online Calendar and Scheduling Apps — the Details

Calendar

Calendar is a calendar, scheduling, and appointment app. The web portal and mobile app provide a machine learning-enabled platform that learns about your contacts and typical schedule. The more Calendar works with that information, the better it becomes at understanding your schedule and those you interact with regularly.

Not only does the schedule app see how it can help with scheduling, but it also does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. That means you can enjoy automated reminders and real-time updates that get you where you need to go. It integrates with other apps and tracks information about routes, weather, and traffic to make sure you stick to your schedule.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is one of the most accessible online calendars out there. You can download it on virtually any device and can dive in even deeper on a desktop computer. If you love the other products included in the Google Suite, you can easily integrate them into this calendar for easy use. Schedule meetings with Google Hangout links and attach Google Documents, Sheets, and Presentations as needed.

Google Calendar is also one of the most versatile of calendar apps, able to sync with most other apps to easily move from platform to platform or collaborate with users of other online calendars.

Apple Calendar

Apple Calendar is the default calendar for iPhone, iPad, and Macbook users. For those who live and die by the Apple brand, this calendar is great because it syncs across all your Apple devices, allowing you to switch seamlessly from one to the other. Don’t have access to one of your many devices? Your calendar information will be stored in Apple’s exclusive cloud, and you can access this from anything with a web browser and internet connection.

The Apple Calendar also doesn’t discriminate, allowing you to add additional online calendars from other sources for easier and all-inclusive time management.

Microsoft Calendar

Microsoft Calendar, also known as Outlook or Office 365 Calendar, is comparable to Google Calendar in that it works seamlessly with the other applications in its suite. It’s an optimal calendar for businesses that already rely on Microsoft products for their daily operations. This is an easy calendar for Windows users as Microsoft integrates well into virtually any PC.

While being able to create multiple calendars isn’t a unique feature, Outlook takes it a step further by allowing you to easily view separate calendars in a side-by-side view, as well as the ability to stack them. This way you can more easily balance your work and personal calendars, along with any others you have created.

Deputy

Deputy helps you stay on top of your schedule and anyone else on your team. It’s made for business owners to take care of staff management duties and lead more effectively. The complete scheduling solution includes a way to schedule employees at various locations, publish schedules through email or SMS, and create shifts. You can also get shift costs and compare wages to sales forecasts. It’s easy to add new employees to this scheduling system.

Other features include timesheet management, communication channels, and tasking tools. The cloud-based scheduling system also lets you oversee schedules from anywhere because it works with Android, iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch.

Hot Schedules

Hot Schedules is another scheduling app that is ideal for business owners with a team of employees to oversee. It’s especially ideal for certain industries like restaurants, hospitality businesses, retail, and recreation and entertainment. The scheduling app provides a cloud-based platform so that schedules can be produced quickly and optimize the available labor force. Features include time and attendance record-keeping, shift communication, labor compliance, and employee engagement.

In addition to the scheduling functionality, it provides a full-scale back-office solution for businesses like restaurants, including inventory management, talent development, forecasting and budgeting, and more.

When I Work

When I Work is another scheduling app that works for those leaders that have a team. This scheduling app is for numerous types of businesses across industries like hospitality, customer service, retail, healthcare, nonprofits and more. It specifically benefits those business owners with hourly employees because it makes scheduling so easy. It also works for all types of employee meetings, and task scheduling.

The scheduling app also works with payroll platforms like Quickbooks and ADP so the work schedule can transfer over easily. The app works with Android or iPhone so it makes employee requests for shift trades or time off even simpler. It’s free for up to 75 users, including mobile accessibility, online scheduler, messaging, and customer support features.

Timely

Timely is a scheduling app for individuals, freelancers, and business owners that also works as a team management platform, overseeing hours, projects, and tasks. The dashboard view provides a business owner with an overview of all projects to see what everyone is doing. Plus, you’ll see how much time it actually takes them. Over time, this can help you reduce overhead costs and optimize productivity while also balancing the team’s workload.

The scheduling feature helps you schedule work according to available capacity while also tracking who has recorded their hours. All it takes is a few clicks to create the schedule as well as put together detailed results that can be used along with invoices to bill clients. The scheduling app can be used from anywhere, including iOS and Android devices.

Planday

Planday is a powerful, yet affordable, scheduling platform that grows with you as you add users. There are starter and pro levels of the scheduling app set at different price points. Even the starter level is packed with features. For example, it includes simple scheduling by job role, an app for iOS and Android, push notifications and email alerts, payroll reporting, labor cost and overtime tracking, customer support and more.

The pro-level includes these features and adds even more. Some features that come with the upgrade are HRM tools, vacation management, scheduling statistics and reporting, electronic signatures, and employee file management.

Fleetmatics Work

Fleetmatics Work is a field service management platform for businesses that have this type of team. The scheduling tools are easy to read and only require a few clicks so you can assign jobs in a way that lets you maximize the number of customer appointments you can book each day. The format also makes it easy to change or cancel appointments, including alerting each employee to a change in their schedule.

Since you have a mobile workforce, it offers a cloud-based system that can be accessed anywhere, most importantly your field service technicians. Additionally, the platform allows you to efficiently manage dispatch, invoices and quotes, and reports. Also, it integrates with accounting software, such as Quickbooks.

Shiftboard

Shiftboard is an employee and workforce management scheduling solution. This cloud-based system provides a way to automate much of the scheduling and time tracking process. It can forecast resources and build schedules based on that data. Additionally, the scheduling app can assign the right people to each job and make real-time scheduling adjustments should anything change.

Other features include a set of communications tools, employee self-serve options, and time and attendance processes. Also, the scheduling app offers reproving and analytics on shifts, workforces, teams, and financials. When you have new hires, you can use Shiftboard for applicant tracking and onboarding. Lastly, it integrates with hundreds of other apps and software for payroll, time management, and other business processes.

FreeBusy

FreeBusy is powered by artificial intelligence and serves as your scheduling assistant for teams and enterprises. You can use this scheduling app within the Outlook desktop and web app. The Outlook add-in features provide a way to identify the best time to meet for those who will be attending from inside your company as well as those from the outside. It also does the same with Google Calendar when you add the FreeBusy Chrome Extension.

Additionally, the scheduling app gives you a personalized webpage. Here, your contacts can see your availability and book meetings. You can also embed your availability on your website, blog, or LinkedIn. Integrating with major calendars will cost you a monthly fee. Otherwise, the basic version is free.

Meekan

Meekan is another scheduling app that uses the power of artificial intelligence to optimize your scheduling processes. it works with Slack and HipChat. The free app is very simple to use. Just request a new meeting in a simple language and then invite who you want. The AI machine goes to work to match everyone’s time and preferences, selecting an optimal time.

Once it has been established the meeting is synced for everyone on their Google, Office 365, or iCloud calendar. Other features include flight search, RSVPs, double booking alerts, meeting reminders, and more.

Meetin.gs

Meetin.gs is an app that helps you create, schedule, and manage meetings as a business owner or manager. It simplifies the meeting scheduling process by allowing you to integrate your calendar with its functionality and easily share that personal scheduling page as par at of an email tagline or website. You can access meeting information from your mobile device, respond to meeting requests, or get or make meeting updates.

The schedule supports Google apps, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Contacts, Outlook, Live People, and Office365. Additionally, it offers live communication tools like Skype, Microsoft Lync, Google Hangouts, and teleconferencing. It’s available as a monthly or yearly subscription.

NeedToMeet

NeedToMeet is a scheduling tool for collaborative meeting scheduling and management. This is a simple, yet highly effective, app for business owners and their teams. Features include simple scheduling, a custom URL to invite attendees, notifications and comments, and a dashboard view of all meetings. It works on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and the Web as well as with their Microsoft Outlook plug-in.

Even the standard free version of the schedule app is ad-free so there are no distractions. Two other versions of the schedule app come with more features and offer various pricing plans.

X.ai

x.ai is your personal virtual assistant for scheduling that leverages artificial intelligence to lighten your workload. It’s easy to use. It’s just a matter of CCing [email protected] on any email. Then, she does the rest to make sure a meeting time is coordinated and scheduled. She learns pretty much everything about you. This includes appointments, phone number, Skype username, and any information that a colleague or client might need to schedule time on your calendar.

The artificial intelligence component to this virtual assistant studies people’s natural speech patterns to reply in the most human ways possible. It’s free for up to five meetings per month. A fee-based version adds more features, a customizable signature, and unlimited meetings each month.

Fantastical

Fantastical is exclusive to Apple users and is another option for those who aren’t the biggest fans of the default Apple Calendar. The app can be used for free but is greatly restricted without an account subscription, but $4.99 a month isn’t a steep price to pay for calendar efficiency. Critics and users alike rave about Fantastical’s layout, giving it high ratings on its clean and user-friendly design.

One of its unique features is calendar sets, allowing you not only the ability to organize your daily schedule but a myriad of calendars of different types. For example, a business owner can create different calendars for their sales, customer service, and IT teams and add them to a calendar set focused on work. Another set can contain a specific calendar for each one of your kids including their individual events and commitments.

Yahoo Calendar

Yahoo Calendar is a blast from the past. While it has been outpaced by many other calendars as far as updates are concerned, it’s still a very serviceable program in the right hands. Being able to sync with Apple and Outlook calendars is a huge plus, helping you begin integrating right away. Something that sets it apart is the ability to work flawlessly with event sites such as Evite and Eventful, which allows you to more easily book events to attend and have them added automatically to your personal calendar.

Yahoo also excels with its to-do list feature, helping you plan out all the details of your day to accomplish all of your short-term goals. Additionally, for what it’s worth, a 100-year calendar allows you to plan as far in advance as you would ever need to.

How Freelancers Can Keep Manageable Schedules Without Losing Work

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How Freelancers Can Keep Manageable Schedules Without Losing Work

Freelancers love the flexibility their no-boss lifestyles provide, but some clients don’t know how to take a hint. They email at all hours of the night and get upset when the project isn’t finished by midmorning. No freelance worker enjoys turning down a good job, but when clients make unreasonable demands, contractors must make a choice. The contractor must adopt a  policy for themselves, between taking a stand and sacrificing the schedule their lifestyle provides.

According to research from Upwork, more than half of freelancers wouldn’t take a traditional job for any amount of money. To make the most of the self-employed lifestyle, freelancers need to know how to maintain control of their schedules without sacrificing income in the process.

This five-step strategy can help freelancers take control of both their calendars and their earnings:

1. Put clear schedule expectations in contracts.

Every regular freelancer should get contracts signed by their clients. Formal agreements protect both sides in the event of a disagreement and provide context for ongoing partnerships.

Some freelancers mistakenly limit their contracts to deliverables only. Guillaume Leverdier says that’s a bad idea. Instead, freelancers need to include scheduling agreements in writing — including hours of contact and expected times for a response. This gives clear “no mistake” guidelines for the clients,  that they deserve the same respect as any traditional vendor.

2. Don’t let actions betray words.

It’s one thing to talk tough. It’s another thing to follow through. Freelancers who set strict hours in their contracts and then let clients walk all-over their schedules might as well not require contracts at all. Be aware, this lapse in your contract usually happens more with friends who are also clients. We won’t mention the “F” word here: family.

The ideal strategy, as recommended by Freelance to Freedom, is to set regular hours and respond to client communications only within those hours. Of course, sometimes that isn’t possible. For occasions when clients need rush jobs, contract workers should include contract clauses on expedited rates. That way, if clients want something done outside of normal hours, they understand the price of asking.

3. Set upfront expectations for project deadlines.

Clients outsource work for a lot of reasons, primarily to control costs, but also to gain access to skills not found within their organizations. Freelancers know how to do something their employees don’t. That makes the freelancer valuable, but it also means that their clients often don’t understand how long projects should take.

Rather than let trial-and-error wreck promising beginnings, contract workers should take the time to talk with their clients about the scope their project will demand — to establish reasonable deadlines. For larger projects, deadlines should include both the end date and intermediate benchmarks. By setting this schedule at the outset, freelancers can prevent scope creep.

4. Learn to say “no” without being rude.

Sometimes, no amount of money is enough to make a job worthwhile. A freelancer on a family vacation probably doesn’t want to tackle a big project no matter how much the client wants to pay.

Brent Galloway, a freelance designer, wrote extensively on Digital Freelancer about three times he had to turn down work from clients. Some responded with understanding, while others got personal. Freelance workers face it all eventually, and the best ones learn how to let down clients firmly, but kindly.

5. Track working hours and make changes where needed.

In the struggle to succeed, plenty of people don’t realize how many hours they actually work. Freelancers are especially notorious for tracking only the time they spend working on projects. In the confusion of the hustle, they forget to track all the hours spent emailing, researching and thinking. Those hours are just as valid, and when freelancers consistently work outside their scheduled times, they undersell the amount of effort their projects require.

Smart freelancers use scheduling tools to make their lives easier. To discover bad habits, freelancers should keep a journal of hours worked and review that journal at regular intervals. Answering emails at night is fine, but when work bleeds into life too frequently, it can lead to burnout.

As challenging as self-employment can be, freelancing remains one of the most rewarding life paths for an increasing number of people. Setting and keeping a schedule helps contract workers maximize their earnings and make the most of their flexible calendars. Marking lines in the sand is never easy, but with work-life balance on the line, the rewards are worth the hard conversations.

7 Things Customers Want in Their Online Booking Experience

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Online Appointment Software Says a Lot About Your Business

Online booking and appointment software makes life easier for you and for your customers. But investing in software is just the start. How are you going to give them a great booking experience?

Customers have high expectations for online scheduling software. They want a personalized experience, just as they’d receive from your receptionist. But they also want certain things humans simply can’t offer, like always-on account access. 

Are you meeting their expectations? Here’s what they’re looking for:

1. 24/7 Access to Online Booking

Many people manage their personal appointments before or after regular business hours. Appointment software can and should be available 24/7. That way, customers can add, adjust, and cancel appointments at their leisure. 

If you’re worried about customers with unanswered questions hesitating to book after hours, set up a frequently asked questions page or, better yet, a customer service chatbot. These automated scripts can address most, if not all, of the questions customers might ask in the booking process. 

Just as important to customers as being able to access your appointment software at all times is being able to access it from any device. Make sure the program you use is accessible on mobile. Try it from a few different devices to be sure it loads well on screens of different sizes. 

2. Online Booking Speed and Efficiency 

Booking an appointment online should be a lot faster than it would be over the phone or in person. After all, no one wants to wait on hold for 15 minutes, just to be told that the time slot they desire has already been booked.

The less time it takes for customers to book an appointment online, the better. If there are still kinks in your system, take the time to straighten them out. Broken links or long loading time will not reflect well on your business. 

3. Prepay Options

Most online appointment software gives customers the option to prepay. Not forcing customers to pay on site makes their appointment experience run faster and more smoothly.

Consumers also appreciate companies that accept a variety of payment options. You’ll have customers who will want to use debit cards, credit cards, mobile wallets, gift cards, and perhaps even cryptocurrency. The more forms of payment you accept through your online appointment software, the better.

4. Online Booking Reminder Settings

Life gets busy. Forgetting an appointment is all too easy to do. Make sure your appointment scheduling system sends reminders to make sure customers know what’s coming up. 

With that said, not everyone enjoys getting reminder messages from companies. Make it possible for them to change their reminder settings. Some might prefer an extra reminder or two, while others may want to turn them off entirely. 

Make settings adjustable for other notifications as well. Some customers would love to know when you unveil a new promotion or close for the holidays.  

5. Instant Verification

Just as important as those reminder messages are verification statements confirming that an appointment has been made. After going through the online booking process, customers need confirmation that their appointment has been set. Wondering if their request has gone through may prompt them to make a second appointment, which can result in double bookings and general confusion.

Be sure your online appointment software sends confirmation emails. The copy doesn’t need to be out of this world; you just need a simple message to let customers know that their appointment slot has been secured. 

6. Appointment Viewable Availability

Don’t make your customers go through the entire booking process just for them to find out the slot they want is unavailable. From the second they open up your interface, they should have access to all available appointment slots for the next several weeks or even months. This way, there’s no question as to what times are available to them in the near future.

This shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish, as your online appointment software should automatically update your appointment calendar every time someone books. Make it an option for customers to receive updates when last-minute appointments open up, giving them a chance to walk in on a day they would have preferred originally. 

7. Simplified Check-In

Online appointment software shouldn’t just simplify the booking process; it should make check-in a breeze. Most systems do this by maintaining a profile on each customer, which is then made available to the customer service staff. 

Some online appointment software can transfer booking details directly to your CRM system. This integration makes it easy to start each customer’s appointment as soon as they walk in the door. 

Knowing what customers want is one thing; delivering it is another. If your booking software makes signing up for a slot easy, customers are all the more likely to do it again. 

7 Ways to Optimize Your 2021 Appointment Schedule

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7 Ways to Optimize Your 2021 Appointment Schedule

The new year can’t come fast enough. Entrepreneurs and business leaders everywhere will be grateful for the opportunity to leave 2020 behind and look toward 2021. Part and parcel of that is setting up your appointment schedule for next year.

Don’t know where to start? This guide will get your wheels turning and your schedule set:

Learn From 2020

You can learn a lot from last year’s appointment schedule. Look at what techniques brought customers in the door and helped you serve them efficiently. Lean into those that worked and jettison the rest.

For example, what kept appointments coming COVID-19? Was it a social media promotion? Digital marketing or SEO? Chances are, those tactics will continue to perform in 2021.

Get Customers on the Calendar

Don’t wait until January 1 to start booking appointments for 2021. You’ll enter the new year with a bare schedule that will be stressful to fill up. Throughout the final weeks of 2020, you should be trying to book as many appointments in early 2021 as possible.

What about appointments for mid-2021 and beyond? Appointments planned too far in advance are more prone to cancellations. Decide with your team how far in advance you want to book while weighing the pros and cons.  

Hold a New Year’s Promotion

If you expect January to be a lean month, you can open up the year with a New Year’s promotion. As is true of all promotions, a good deal can incentivize a lot of appointments quickly.

Use customer’s New Year’s resolutions as a way to lure them to your business. For example, a dentist’s office can cater to customers who want to transform their look in 2021. Personal trainers will greatly benefit from a New Year’s deal, as getting in shape is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions.

Set Up Work Schedules

Once you’ve gotten your appointment schedule squared away, be sure to spend some time organizing your employee schedules. Making sure busy days have enough employees scheduled is key to keeping appointments flowing.

Plan out employees’ work schedules as far in advance as possible. Ask your team members to submit PTO requests as early as they can. Ironing out these details makes scheduling less stressful.

Aside from your team’s work schedule, don’t forget about your general business hours. With COVID-19 still affecting businesses everywhere, your regular hours might have changed. Make sure these are updated on your website, front door, and anywhere else you post them.

Decide Days Off

When setting up your appointment schedule for the end of the year, you should have the days marked off where you’re not taking appointments. Christmas and New Year’s are times for family, but don’t stop there. 

Say you’ve decided to open up all of 2021 for appointments. If a customer books a visit on the day before Thanksgiving — a day you’d planned to take off — they’ll be frustrated by your request that they rebook. As soon as you know what your schedule will look like, make it known online. 

Days off won’t just include holidays. Think about all-staff retreats and maintenance needs that might limit your availability. Even if it’s not a full day off, you may need to reduce the number of available slots on those days to accommodate your other responsibilities. 

Reach Out to Your Regulars

As you fill up your appointment slots for 2021, give your regular customers a ring. They’ll appreciate being given the opportunity to claim their preferred appointment times, encouraging loyalty while netting you recurring revenue.

This strategy is commonplace in the sports world. Season ticket holders get the first call to renew their membership before seats are opened up to the public. Sports franchises understand that their long-term fans are their most important asset; the same is true for your business.

Recalibrate Your Reminders

While setting up your appointment schedule, take time to go through the other settings of your appointment software. Updating your automated reminders is a great way to reduce your no-show rate and improve customer compliance.

Say you’re a doctor’s office that added colonoscopy services. Those customers can’t eat for a day or more before the procedure — something automated notifications can remind them off. Be sure they’re set appropriately. 

Get started now on making 2021 a great year for your business. The more prepared you are, the fewer things can shake you. And after 2020, you know just how important that is. 

How to Use Appointment Software in Your Personal Life

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How to Use Appointment Software in Your Personal Life

Businesses use appointment software for all sorts of reasons. Making it easier for customers to book appointments is one. Another is helping the team manage its workload. 

Believe it or not, however, the benefits of appointment software extend beyond businesses. Some people use it in their personal lives as well. 

Why? Let’s take a look:

Staying Connected

Even though social distancing has taken over your social life, you can use online appointment software to stay in touch with friends. The software makes it simple to coordinate schedules, whether you’re meeting in person or virtually.

You can use online appointment software to show your availability to friends. Then, they can select a time that works best for a phone call, video chat, or meetup. This will help you stay connected even when conflicting schedules keep you apart.

Want to keep your friends on the hook? Each member of your group can rotate through being in charge of scheduling the next activity. With online appointment software, you can send a payment to them if they foot the bill. 

Networking

Connecting with business professionals is a great way to get ahead in your field. Networking events can be difficult to put together, given how busy industry veterans can be. Online appointment software makes it easier to coordinate with them.

Opening up appointments to mentors and people you’re trying to network with makes it easier to fit them into your schedule. It also eliminates the back-and-forth communication involved in pinpointing a time, helping you meet more people in less time. 

Hobbies and Side Gigs

Do you use online platforms to peddle some of your old trinkets? Hosting an online yard sale can be tricky. When you’re trying to find the right buyer, you may need to set up a time to chat.

Instead of playing phone tag with half a dozen people, let your online appointment software get the job done. Post your item of choice on the internet with an appointment link that allows a buyer to schedule a time to pick it up. Once a time is selected, you can close the software off to stop anyone else from booking after the sale is made. 

Your other ventures also benefit from online appointment software. Side gigs don’t get much love and care under normal circumstances, but online appointment software can help you book meetings with buyers and better organize your efforts. 

Event Hosting

While COVID-19 is putting most events on hold for the time being, the day will return when you’re able to put together fun family events once more. Be ready for it with appointment software.

Online appointment software can help you gather RSVPs to get a head count for seating, refreshments, and venue size. The software can also enable you to share the event easily, reaching everyone you wish to invite in a matter of seconds. 

Recreational Activities

Got a tennis buddy waiting for a rematch? Don’t keep them waiting! Use online appointment software to squeeze in some time on the court.

Online appointment software can help you organize all sorts of recreational activities. From planning a workout with your gym buddy to a family holiday event, appointment software makes schedule coordination simple. 

Tutoring and Coaching

Want to make 2021 your year? You can start by looking for ways to improve yourself. Schedule tutoring and coaching sessions that help you achieve personal development and fulfillment. 

Coordinate with your tutors and coaches using online appointment software. Tell them what you hope to achieve. Ask them to help you lay out the steps to get there. Book frequent appointments with them to measure your progress and to hold yourself accountable.

Meeting Deadlines

Deadlines can be easy to miss. To make sure you don’t let any slip through the cracks, block them off in your appointment software. 

Balancing class assignments, work initiatives, and personal projects can be difficult. Use your online appointment software to block off time prior to each. The rest is just a matter of buckling down.

Juggling Schedules

Even the most level-headed of people forget things. You don’t want to miss your daughter’s piano recital because you were too focused on scheduling out your work deadlines. Online appointment software will help you strike the perfect balance in your daily schedule.

Online appointment software is as flexible and useful as you make it. Download one, and you’ll see why it’s such a staple of the business world. 

What are the 4 D’s of Negligence in Time Management?

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How to Squeeze More Time Out of Your Busy Schedule

I’ve experimented with various time management hacks over the years. The time management hack I’ve found to be most practical and useful is the 4Ds of time management. People will continue to get better and better at their jobs and productivity, yet time management will continue to be an issue in business. We’ll look at the 4D’s of time management first, but what are the 4D’s of negligent time management?

The 4D’s of Time Management

If you’re not familiar with this technique, the 4Ds of time management are: delete, delegate, defer, and do.

  • Delete is where you remove unnecessary time-wasters from your schedule, such as projects you never complete or unproductive meetings.
  • Delegate is taking tasks that are important but can be assigned to someone else.
  • Defer means, essential tasks that don’t need to be handled right now. Schedule these jobs when you have the availability.
  • Do is for the jobs (or anything) that take a couple of minutes to finish quickly. Don’t let these micro-tasks pile-up — get them done and over with, now. But, do also means diving directly into a task, building up your momentum and working on a bigger job to get it done.

Personally, using the 4Ds of time management has increased my productivity. How? Using the principle has encouraged me to focus on what truly matters. Also, because this has reduced the number of activities I need to worry about, I’m not cluttering my calendar. The 4D’s have helped prevent decision fatigue, which gives me more mental energy throughout the day.

What’s interesting, however, is that different industries have their variation of the 4D’s. Case in point, the medical industry has the 4Ds of medical negligence. These (negligent areas) are duty, dereliction, direct causation, and damages.

The 4D’s of Medical Negligence.

Recently, I had to visit urgent care. Nothing serious. While waiting to see the doctor, I saw a parallel between the 4Ds of time management and negligence.

I know. That probably shouldn’t have been my main concern. But what can I say? I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve time management. I think the 4D’s of negligence can be helpful in the Calendar, business, and productivity space.

Duty

No matter the exact field of expertise — doctors must adhere to strict rules, guidelines, and protocols. Drs listen to the patient and are respectful of their views.

The same system of confidentiality should be practiced in businesses, with customers and client’s financials and other information. A physician must also practice confidentiality. How confidential are we with our clients and customers data, requests, sales, and so forth? In short, Doctors must always provide the best care possible for all of their patients. Do we do the same in business?

Additionally, if the doctor believes that they can not help a patient — they must refer them to someone else. For example, if you have a rotator cuff tear, then your primary physician wouldn’t attempt to do surgery. Instead, your primary care doctor will refer you to physical therapy, and then to an orthopedic surgeon.

How duty relates to time management.

To begin with, whenever you accept a time request, you have a duty to follow through with the job. If you accept a meeting invite — then you need to block that timeframe in your calendar to prevent scheduling conflicts. You will follow through with the meetings set up on your schedule.

Ditching-out on your scheduled appointments at the last minute isn’t done unless there is an emergency. Your doctor doesn’t cancel appointments for no reason. It wouldn’t be very professional for your doctor to visit with two patients in the same room at the same time, either.

You have a responsibility to arrive on-time for your appointments and end the event as scheduled.

Not only is this respectful to the other attendees, but it also protects your time. Have you planned a meeting for thirty minutes, and the meeting ends up being an hour? The lax in protocols change your plans for the day — and creates conflict in everyone’s schedule.

Similarly to the medical duty of time management — if you don’t have the availability — then be honest about this upfront. If your Calendar is packed for the next month, don’t take on any new responsibilities. Don’t keep adding to your duties or accept any meeting invites until you have more time.

Finally, like doctors, if you aren’t an expert — then send your clients and customers to someone who is an expert. Obviously, for those in the medical field — it’s for legal purposes. But, for most of us, this is a simple way to avoid wasting time.

For instance, I just repaired a couple of things at my home. These weren’t difficult, but because I had never done them before — I spent hours on the project. It may have been expensive to hire a maintenance specialist — but I would have saved a ton of time. Next time I’ll call the repairman. I’ll stick with what I am an expert at — for the sake of my business.

Dereliction

Whenever a doctor doesn’t meet expectations or overstepped boundaries, this is called dereliction negligence. Examples would be not providing a clean and safe environment, misdiagnosis, missing a diagnosis, doing unnecessary procedures. Dereliction also includes surgical errors or prescribing the wrong medication.

How dereliction relates to time management.

Did you commit to a new work assignment? If so, that should be your priority. You should also allocate the right amount of time to performing the jobs you said you would accomplish. By Calendaring your tasks and meetings you’ll be sure to meet the deadlines. If you don’t have the time or skills for this exact task, just as a doctor would do, the job should be handed off to someone else whose expert.

Furthermore, dereliction is defined as “the state of being abandoned.”

And, as it just so happens, finishing what you started is one of the best ways to manipulate time to your advantage.

“It’s very common for tasks to get interrupted or delayed throughout your day.” Renzo Costarella wrote previously for Calendar. “Often, it’s best to finish the task at hand before starting new ones.” If you visited your doctor to get stitches, you would expect the doc to finish the job — not leave you half-stitched.

“However, other things may take priority,” adds Renzo. “For example, if a customer needs immediate assistance, it’s probably best to serve them right away.” But, “you need to make a point to return and finish your unfinished duties” after handling the current crisis.

“Again, this sounds simple enough, but it’s common for individuals to get distracted and leave loose ends.”

Direct Causation

If there was a dereliction of duty, then it must be proven that the healthcare provider was at fault. Usually, this is straightforward. I’ll give you an example of my personal life. My grandfather went in for simple cataract surgery. But, the doctor operated on the wrong eye. As a consequence, he began to experience vision problems in the wrong eye and he still had a cataract on the original eye.

In this case, the error was obvious. But, other times, errors and mistakes are not so black and white. Let’s say that a patient had a broken arm that didn’t heal properly. Maybe the patient will claim that the error was because the orthopedist did not apply the correct methods to the fractured arm correctly.

However, in the background, we may find out that the patient fell while the cast was on — which was the real causation of further injury. If the patient doesn’t admit the actual error or mistake — it could be challenging to prove that it wasn’t the surgeon’s fault. Dishonesty from the patient causes problems for us all.

How direct causation relates to time management.

Causation and time management fit together like a glove. If you don’t manage your time effectively by holding yourself accountable, there will be negative consequences. You may want to pin the blame on others — but, ultimately, the buck stops with you.

The surgeon who operated on my grandfather’s eye blamed the nurse who prepped my grandpop. But, the doctor should have double-checked the information himself before operating. When it comes to your responsibilities, you can say that you were late for a meeting because your other event ran late. However, if you had built-in a buffer between these meetings, this issue wouldn’t have occurred.

Another example of direct causation is not focusing on meaningful work because you’re getting distracted.

The solution? Identify these distractions and eliminate them. If your phone is the primary causation of your time management lag, then turn it off or put it on do not disturb mode. Behind on your priorities because you’re devoting too much time on unnecessary things? Drop those time-sucks from your to-do-list for the time being.

There are times when you aren’t at fault in business. One way around the vast majority of excuse ridden situations is to schedule white space in your calendar. Leave a block of time blank to catch up and in-between meeting. Leave buffer times in your schedules. If you don’t have anything scheduled use that time to address the unexpected events that occur.

Damages

Businesses have a lot of issues that appear as damages. But nothing could be worse than the current medical malpractice issues. Doctors respond to the question, “did the patient suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially?”

The patient is entitled to a monetary amount that would help cover wage losses or medical bills. Damages would also take care of any pain or suffering or emotional distress that the patient has experienced.

How damages relate to business time management.

Poor time management affects every area of your life. Let’s say that you’re aren’t punctual or always rushing from Point A to B. Not only is this stressful, it also puts a strain on your relationships. If you miss a deadline, for instance, you might lose a client. If you are arriving late at home each night — you don’t have a chance to spend quality time with your family.

Other symptoms of poor time management would be procrastination, inability to set goals, and decreased quality of work. Poor time management causes damage in many areas of your business — and certainly in your life.

You’ll find poor time management causes you, your family and your clients and customers to suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Unhealthy habits, like eating fast food, not exercising, and getting burned out can be attributed to poor time management.

In other words, poor time management will definitely lead to physical, mental, emotional, and financial distress — and there is no one to blame but ourselves. You aren’t going to recover any monetary amount for slacking on the job and causing yourself and your family pain and suffering. But you can recover monetary setbacks through better time management.

When you feel pain and suffering in business — look to time management for the cure.

Always Resolve Your Calendar Conflicts

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If you were able to have a superpower, what would it be? For me? I would want the ability to be in two places at once.

That might not sound like the most thrilling of powers. But think about it? You could tackle your work responsibilities while playing with your kids, reading, or whatever else you enjoy during your downtime.

A Properly Managed Calendar Can Feel Almost Magical

Of course, this isn’t realistic. That’s why it’s imperative that you properly manage your calendar. If you don’t, it will feel like you’re trying to be in multiple places simultaneously.

That might not sound like a biggie. But calendar conflicts are frustrating and stressful. They can also cause you to fall behind in your work. And, they could also fracture relationships if this becomes a recurring issue.

The good news? There are ways to resolve your calendar conflicts? And here are 8 such ways to achieve this feat.

1. Avoid conflicts by going digital.

Want to prevent conflicts from happening in the first place? Then you probably should make a move from a paper calendar or planner to a digital option.

I’m not completely hating on old-school paper calendars. In fact, they can still come in handy. After all, they excel at providing a quick visual reminder. And, we tend to remember events better when it’s written down.

At the same time, they can be problematic. Let’s say that you were at a networking event and agreed to follow-up with a new contact. You agree to a phone call next Wednesday at 1 pm. However, when you go to add this entry when you get back to your office, you see that you had a prior commitment.

It’s not the end of the word for you to reschedule. But, if you had a calendar app, you would have been able to see your availability right there on the spot. What’s more, most calendar software won’t even let you double-book your time and will suggest a different time.

As if that weren’t enough, you could share your calendar with others. When you do, they can either see when you’re available. Or, they can book a meeting with you directly through the calendar.

And, one more thing. Online calendars also come with time-zone recognition. That means it will automatically convert time zones to avoid any confusion.

2. Don’t wait until tomorrow.

The longer you wait to put entries into your calendar, the higher the probability for conflicts to arise. Going back to following-up with the contact you met. Until you had the call to your calendar, it doesn’t exist.

Even worse? Something else might creep in and try to claim that block of time. If that happens, you’re going to have to do some last-minute reshuffling.

In short, schedule your priorities and important dates ASAP. For instance, if you know, there’s a meeting scheduled on the 30th of the month book the conference room this very second. If you have a dentist’s appointment in 6 months, get that in your calendar before scheduling something else.

3. Keep your calendar lean and mean.

As I just mentioned, if something isn’t in your calendar, then it’s not worthy of your time and energy. But, does that mean that you need to literally plan every minute of your day? Not exactly.

By all means, get those key entries onto your calendar. But, also leave some blocks open. One example of this would be having a gap between meetings. It’s a simple way to prevent overlapping — plus, it allows you to catch your breath.

Furthermore, there’s another reason not to pack your calendar too tight. It will let you address any emergencies that might pop-up. In turn, you won’t completely ruin your schedule.

And, it’s also been found that healthy scheduling habits make you happy. Specifically, this applies to your social life. For instance, if you don’t have anything planned after running errands and you bumped into a friend, you could catch-up without feeling crunched for time.

4. Stay cool like a cucumber.

So, you’ve got a conflict? You might instinctively have a panic attack. Take a deep breath and relax. Everything’s going to be OK.

The worst possible outcome is that you might disappoint someone or have to adjust your schedule. It’s an annoyance. But, if you’re honest and aren’t making last-minute changes, everything will get back to order.

Additionally, if the other party made a mistake, show a little empathy. As humans, that’s going to happen. Besides, chastising them won’t help correct their time management problems.

5. Don’t have a communication breakdown.

While your handy online calendar can help avert possible conflicts, you can’t solely rely on it. Case in point, you have a family emergency a couple of hours before a meeting. Your calendar obviously doesn’t know this information. As a result, it’s still going to assume that the event will take place as scheduled.

In this case, you need to let the other attendees know. You also need to cancel or reschedule that event. If you don’t have a new date in mind, just let them know that you will pick a new date as soon as possible.

Long story short, keep the lines of communication open. It may take you a couple of minutes. But, it shows others that you respect their valuable time. And, it may also help you de-escalate any possible workplace conflicts.

6. Have a backup plan.

You can’t possibly prepare for every scenario. Personally, I just don’t think that’s possible. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a Plan D, C, and D.

For instance, if you have to reschedule a virtual call, come up with a couple of other possible alternative dates. The reason? Since you have a proposal ready, you won’t play the time-consuming game of cat and mouse.

What if you don’t fill these blocks of time up? No worries. You can use that block to tackle backburner tasks, get the head start on a new project, or kick back and relax for a minute.

Another suggestion could be when it comes to employee scheduling. You might want to have some back-ups in cause someone can’t make it into work. To make this process a little easier on you, you could even permit your team members to pick their own subs.

7. It’s OK to say no.

What if you said yes to a time request only to find out that there’s a calendar dispute? The answer is easy. Just say, “no.”

I know that you don’t want to upset anyone. However, you aren’t doing anyone any favors by spreading yourself too thin. So, if you are already going to a party on Saturday, then you’ll have to pass on another invite.

When it comes to working, you also need to know your limitations. If you’re at full capacity, then don’t accept or volunteer for new assignments.

What exactly should you decline? That’s really up to you. But, some of the most common examples would be:

  • Anything that could be easily delegated or outsourced.
  • Actions that don’t align with your vision.
  • Things that distract you.
  • Unhealthy habits.
  • Things that aren’t in your control.

I’d also add that just because you reject a time request doesn’t mean you should feel guilty. In fact, you could offer an alternative date when you have the availability. After all, if you don’t protect your time, then who will?

Why Some Customers Are Hesitant to Book Appointments

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As you fill up your bookings each day, you might be puzzled that some customers are reluctant to commit to appointments. Why, given that scheduling appointments benefits both sides, won’t they play along?

It’s a perplexing, frustrating problem. But understanding why these customers hesitate to book appointments will help you serve them better. By providing clarity and comfort, you’ll be able to address the eight reasons customers balk at booking appointments with you:

1. Their schedules are unpredictable.

Some customers shy away from set-in-stone appointments because they simply can’t commit to a day or time. The nature of either their job or their lifestyle makes every day unpredictable. They’re afraid to book an appointment on the off chance that something will come up, causing them to cancel (and potentially incur a cancellation fee).

A busy schedule can be just as problematic as an unpredictable one. Customers who aren’t sure they can find time for an appointment in their schedule won’t even bother. They might stop by if they happen to free up the time, but nothing is guaranteed. 

Consider leaving some cushion in your schedule for walk-ins so you can accommodate these free spirits. They will be grateful for your flexibility and feel more inclined to schedule appointments when they know they’re able. 

2. Your scheduling system is confusing.

Businesses that rely on an online scheduling system should make it as user-friendly as possible. Otherwise, potential customers might bail when the going gets tough. 

Streamlining your scheduling process as much as you can. How many steps does your scheduling process take from beginning to end? Just the sight of numerous hoops to jump through would cause anyone to hesitate.

Do bookers need to create a user account? Think up — and remember — yet another password? Look at your online appointment software through the eyes of a visitor and make note of anything that might cause them to turn away.

3. They’re wary of your cancellation policy.

What if you were to book an appointment only to have something urgent come up and need to cancel? This is a very real fear for many customers, especially when a service provider has a daunting cancellation policy. If they book an appointment, that cancellation fee will be hanging over their heads until the appointment is completed.

Take a moment to review your cancellation policy. Is it perhaps a little too harsh? Consider lowering your cancellation fee or being more flexible about advance notice (e.g., 12 hours versus 24 hours).

Excusing a client’s first violation — but only the first — will demonstrate that you’re accommodating but not a pushover. While a cancellation policy is important for keeping customers accountable, being too strict can stop people from committing at all. 

4. You haven’t convinced them to commit to your business.

If you haven’t completely sold your services to the customer, they might not feel inclined to book an appointment. They may think there are better or more affordable options elsewhere. Consequently, they won’t want to lock into an appointment with you before searching for superior options.

What about your business is causing this hesitation? Perhaps your prices are too steep, or the quality of your service is no better than your competitors’. Look for ways to stand out, and customers will be more likely to commit to appointments with you.

5. They don’t see the need.

If there’s no need to book an appointment, why bother? Customers who don’t see a clear requirement to reserve a time slot will likely skip it altogether. In their mind, an appointment is more of an inconvenience than a necessity.

Explain to your customers why booking an appointment is important. Your time is limited, so they need to make an appointment to guarantee their place in line. You can get this point across on well-worded signs, your business card, and your social media feeds. The clearer you make this argument, the more likely customers will get it and act accordingly.

Besides not seeing a need, customers might also lack incentives for booking an appointment — so it’s up to you to provide them. Point out that making an appointment will result in shorter wait times. You might even offer discounted rates for scheduling appointments or incentives for booking several of them in advance. This is a great way to secure a steady flow of customers. 

6. They don’t want to — or can’t — prepay.

If you require a deposit or full payment in order to book an appointment, some customers will start looking for other businesses that offer walk-ins or make fewer demands. The inability to prepay is a more common problem than you might think.

Some customers simply prefer to pay in cash, making it impossible for them to prepay online. Others may need their next paycheck to arrive before they can fit an appointment with you into their budget. The need to prepay will cause them to hesitate before pulling the trigger.

7. They decided to drop in at the last minute.

An unexpected walk-in might be just as surprising to the customer as it is to you. Some people aren’t planning to stop by your business until the last minute. They had extra time in their lunch hour and decided to drop in, or a situation arose that prompted them to stop by that day.

Understanding that some customers show up without planning to beforehand should help you be more patient with them. After all, if you make a good impression when they walk in, you could convert them to repeat customers who set their appointments in advance. 

8. They have safety concerns.

In normal times, safety concerns wouldn’t be a reason to forgo appointments. But these aren’t normal times. The risk of exposure to COVID-19 is a real one, and businesses should take this concern seriously. 

Start by providing masks and rearranging your waiting room to enable social distancing. Then inform customers of these changes via your website, through social media, and at the front door.

Making customers aware of the safety precautions you’ve implemented will put them at ease and encourage them to book appointments in your facility.

When you understand why some customers are hesitant to make appointments, you can work to overcome those objections and serve your customers better. By displaying empathy and addressing their concerns, you can encourage them to show up on schedule and develop a lasting relationship with your business.

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