Category Archives: Scheduling

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.

8 Appointment Scheduling Metrics to Monitor

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Data can tell you so much about your business. This information provides deep insight that verbal, qualitative feedback simply can’t.

With that said, crunching numbers takes time. Ask yourself: What do you really need to know about your appointments and scheduling processes?

With so much data available, it can be tough to know where to start. Begin by monitoring these eight metrics:

1. Percentage of Appointments That Are No-Shows

No-shows put a wrench into your operations. They claim key spots in your schedule that could be allotted to other customers, and disrupt an otherwise flawless system. No-shows every once in a while are inevitable, but knowing how big of a problem they really are will let you know when to take action.

Without data, gauging how many no-shows you have in a period of time is a guessing game. You can also look at data about late shows, another class of customer that can mess up the flow of your business. Cancellations add another layer to the equation, as these customers at least gave you a heads up before not showing up.

2. Ratio of Walk-Ins to Appointments

Appointments run more smoothly than walk-ins. Bookings follow a schedule that can be planned in advance and executed with precision. Walk-ins tend to be sporadic, causing employees to scramble to fit people into their rotation.

Put hard numbers to the walk-ins and appointments you get each day. How do the numbers stack up? If you’re getting overwhelmed by walk-ins, look for ways to tilt the balance toward appointments. 

3. Percentage of Appointments That Run Long

What is your target length for appointments? Making appointments timely helps you run a smooth ship. Appointments that run long disrupt your flow and cause a domino effect throwing off the rest of your day.

You can use performance metrics to see the average duration of an appointment. If this number is higher than your target, you’ll know you need to work on cutting down appointment times. Keep an eye out for snags in your workflow that might be contributing to appointments running long.

Take into account that some appointments, like simple check ins, only require a short visit. Be sure to differentiate them from other commitments, or separate them into their own categories. 

4. Appointments Per Lead Source

Although your customers make appointments through your website, that probably isn’t where they first learn about you. Where do they come from? Web analytics can help you focus your marketing on these sources. 

For example, you might find out that two-thirds of your leads are coming from social media. If so, you should spend more of your marketing dollars there because you know it’s a successful source.

Beware that these trends can change from month to month. Recheck this metric whenever you debut a new campaign or target a new demographic. 

5. Customer Demographics

Speaking of, what kinds of people make appointments with your business? Knowing your client base will give you a better idea of how to meet their needs. 

While checking customer demographics, you may also notice that there are key differences between those who hold true to their appointments and those who are more likely to run late or not show up at all. With this data, you can come up with ways to better accommodate struggling demographics.

6. Proportion of Positive Reviews

Ask your customers to leave an honest review after their appointment. Offer to anonymize it in order to promote honesty.

Both positive and negative feedback are useful to your business. However, it’s important to understand how your total number of reviews break down along these lines. 

An easy way to quantify this is a five-star review system. To adopt this, send out a brief survey to customers after each appointment. Make sure to include a comment box where they can explain why they rated your company as they did. 

Be prompt with sending surveys so the experience is fresh in their mind. To encourage them to take it, consider entering them into a drawing for a small gift or free services. 

7. Number of Returning Customers

Getting new customers in the door is a priority for any business. But the real challenge is getting them to return for additional appointments. Retention metrics can give you a sense of how satisfied customers are with your service.

It’s much less expensive to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones. Consider shifting some of your marketing spend from acquisition to retention programs. Perhaps punch cards, loyalty discounts, or customer appreciation gifts would help you bring in more revenue. 

8. Bundles of Appointments Sold

The more appointments you have booked, the more revenue you generate. That’s why many businesses would prefer to sell not just one appointment at a time, but monthly or annual plans.

If you use this model, how many of your customers take you up on it? Is it a third of your customer base? Half? Set a target, and use promotions to help you meet it. 

Make metrics your company’s north star. Data-driven adjustments will have your company running at full tilt in no time. 

How to Handle Internet Outages When You Schedule Appointments Online

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How to Handle Internet Outages When You Schedule Appointments Online

Appointments make customer service so much easier. Not only do they cut down on wait times, but they reduce staff members’ stress levels. 

Online scheduling apps let you manage bookings in real time. But what happens when your internet crashes? Without a connection, you can’t see what appointments are coming up — much less adjust them.  

Don’t panic — you’ve got this. Here’s what to do:

1. Call Your Internet Provider Immediately

First things first: Reach out to your internet service provider. They’ll be able to provide information on the outage and give an estimated time when your connection will be restored. If the outage is unique to your location, they can send a specialist to come fix it.

With any luck, you won’t have to go the rest of the day without the internet. Until then, use the remaining tips below to continue serving your customers. 

2. Change Your Voicemail

When your system goes down due to an internet outage, you’re likely to get a bunch of concerned calls. While serving customers already at your store, it can be tough to field these calls.

To limit the flow, change your voicemail message. In your new message, explain the situation. If possible, include an estimated time the system will be back up. Include any other details customers might need, such as a special number to call for bookings. 

3. Take Appointments Over the Phone

As a temporary alternative, take appointments over the phone. Record these carefully to avoid overlap with existing bookings. 

If you don’t typically take appointments over the phone, remind callers of this. Otherwise, those who didn’t hear your voicemail may assume it’s the norm.

4. Open Walk-In Hours

One advantage of appointment-based scheduling is that it lets you prohibit or restrict walk-ins. Consider allowing walk-ins until the internet outage is over.

Beware that this can get chaotic. Ask your staff to be patient and to engage upset customers in calming conversations. 

This option works best when combined with phone- and paper-based scheduling. Encourage customers who don’t want to wait to make an appointment. 

5. Keep Paper Copies

Digital scheduling cuts down on paper waste. But if you experience internet outages once a month or more, printing out the next day’s appointment schedule is a smart idea. 

Make sure your printout doesn’t just show your schedule. To confirm or adjust appointments, you’ll also need customers’ names and phone numbers. If you offer multiple service lines, include which one each appointment entails. 

6. Ask Customers for Verification

When they book an appointment online, customers will receive a message confirming their upcoming visit. If they walk in claiming to have an appointment while your internet is down, ask them to show it to you.

While you want customers to feel trusted, you can’t risk someone stealing another customer’s time slot. Even if it’s an honest mistake, the customer who’d booked it is sure to be upset. 

7. Call in Backup

If the combination of walk-ins and anxious callers is more than you can handle, call in some extra hands. Another employee or two in the office can make a world of difference when your system is down. 

Keep at least one employee on call for emergency situations like this. On most teams, at least one person is always looking for extra hours. 

8. Send Some Referrals

You never want to lose out on business, but you also want to maintain your reputation. If the internet outage is more than you can handle, send referrals to similar local businesses. 

Trying to balance appointments made without software with a rush of walk-ins is challenging. Long wait times can frustrate and drive away customers. This short-term solution will help you out in the long run.

9. Use a Personal Device

Chances are, you carry a smartphone. Keep your appointment platform’s login details handy so you can pull it up on your phone in a pinch. 

What if your booking system isn’t mobile-friendly? Use your device as a hotspot for your internet computer. Beware that you may incur extra charges from your phone provider for doing this. 

An internet outage is nothing you can’t handle. Follow these steps, and you won’t just make it through; you’ll be even more prepared if it ever happens again.

5 Scheduling Conversations to Have With Employees This Fall

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With each new season comes an opportunity to rally your team. Whereas business often slows down in the summer, fall is a time to pick things up.  

There are a number of tasks to accomplish before the new season arrives. Much of them are back-burner tasks, such as cleaning and reorganizing the office. However, conversations around scheduling should be at the top of your fall agenda. 

Getting everyone’s schedules together before fall is crucial for planning. Not only can it give you a better sense of your team’s capacity, but it helps you plan for the next fiscal year and finish up annual initiatives. 

While every business is different, certain scheduling conversations apply across the board. Take a look at the following topics to broach with your employees this fall and ensure that everyone is ready for what’s ahead:

1. Team Meeting Days

Like them or not, meetings are part of working on a team. Decide whether your current cadence makes sense, and if not, when and how often the team should meet. 

Maybe you don’t necessarily need a full team meeting every week. Perhaps every other week is enough. Or maybe you simply need to settle on a different day and time than before. 

See how your team members feel about your current all-staff meetings. Figure out what tweaks could boost productivity and efficiency. Simply shaving 15 minutes off the meeting time could jog conversation along and give attendees time back. 

2. Vacation Plans

One great thing about fall is the reduction in vacation requests. Most people are back from the summer, so there’s less maneuvering around those who aren’t present. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect this aspect of scheduling. 

There may be people who did not take time off in the summer. Ask whether they have a fall trip in the works. Encourage them to put time off on the calendar sooner rather than later. 

While planning for the season, take a moment to review your PTO policy. Talk through hiccups from recent vacations to ensure everyone is able to take time off work without a hitch. 

Discussing vacation plans also helps you and your employees identify loose threads that need to be addressed before they head out. That way, nobody is left high and dry when someone didn’t complete their tasks prior to takeoff. 

3. Summer Hours Assessment

Your company may have changed its business hours in the summer. If so, fall is the time to bring everyone together to reassess those changes. 

In terms of worker productivity, there are pros and cons to having summer hours. Reducing hours in the summer encourages better work-life balance. It can also boost productivity during business hours because people are more rested. 

With that said, summer hours can be stressful. Employees may scramble to get the same amount of work done in less time. And because there are fewer windows for scheduling meetings, collaboration can be tough. 

When evaluating summer hours, ask your team:

  • Who prefers summer hours and who doesn’t?
  • Does the data show summer hours cause an increase or decrease in productivity?
  • Did customer volume change during the summer?  
  • Is there more to accomplish in the fall than summer?

If there’s not a significant change and workers prefer the summer hours, you may opt to keep them. If not, summer hours might not make much sense. 

4. Schedule Flexibility

The new season might be a good time to give employees more autonomy with their schedules. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on workers’ routines, so go ahead and experiment. 

Flexibility doesn’t mean that everyone makes their own schedule without considering others. That would be chaotic. Perhaps people can work from home most days, but on designated days they can head into the office for a team lunch meeting. Different departments could even build their schedules together. 

Flexible scheduling is about doing what makes sense for your team and your company. If everyone is doing good work with a flexible schedule, there’s no need to force a more rigid one on people.

5. Performance Reviews

As you plan through the end of the year, performance reviews will probably happen in the late fall. You should always be preparing for these by giving feedback to workers consistently, but you still need to set a hard date for the conversation.

Getting these evaluations on people’s schedules is a good first step this fall. At least a few weeks in advance, give employees an idea of when they will occur and what they will be focused on. 

When team members are involved in scheduling conversations, they feel more empowered in their work. In a culture of flexibility and empowerment, everyone wins.  

How Far Is Too Far Out to Schedule Appointments?

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Imagine if someone wanted to schedule an appointment with your company 10 years into the future. You’d probably laugh it off. A lot can change in a decade. 

That may seem like a wild scenario, but the underlying question is an important one: How far is too far into the future to schedule client appointments?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Just because your scheduling software lets you book years in advance doesn’t necessarily mean you should. 

So how can you decide on a cutoff? Maximize your scheduling software by asking yourself the following questions: 

1. What are the limits of my tools?

Before you can even think about customer preferences, know the limitations of your scheduling tools. 

How do you attract clients? What about booking their appointments? And how do you send out reminders and handle change requests?

Although some platforms can do it all, many can’t. In each program, click as far as you can into the future. When you can’t go any further, you know how far into the future you can schedule appointments.

What if it’s not as far as you’d like? Start searching for a program that can meet your needs. 

2. Is there customer demand?

Everything you do — including how you schedule appointments — should be based on what your clients want. If customers like things as they are, there’s no reason to switch things up. But if they want the ability to schedule sessions further out, then give them what they want. 

When it comes to scheduling, beware that customers won’t always tell you their issues. They may not even know that they have a say in your scheduling practices. 

In order to figure out what they might want, check out your appointment management platform. How far in advance does the average customer book their appointment? What about the fifth and ninety-fifth percentiles? Try to accommodate even your pickiest customers. 

Just as importantly, ask them directly for feedback. Soliciting feedback can come in the form of an email, a text message, a survey, or a conversation. 

However you do it, check back in after you set new booking parameters: Do your customers appreciate the changes?

3. Does it make sense with my business model? 

Scheduling appointments far in advance makes more sense for some businesses than others. Consider where you fall in the range of companies that typically use appointment scheduling software:

  • Call centers would likely want to confine appointments to a shorter time frame.
  • Event planners and caterers would likely prefer to schedule far in advance.
  • Academic advising appointments make sense to schedule within the semester.
  • Dentists and doctor’s offices may prefer to schedule checkups 12-16 months in advance.

When in doubt, learn what’s typical for your industry. Ask partners how far in advance they book appointments.

You don’t necessarily have to do what your competitors are doing, though. If you discover nobody is booking appointments a year out, maybe it could be your competitive advantage. Do what will set your brand apart without hamstringing your team. 

4. What does my customer volume look like?

The limits you place on far-ahead scheduling depend on how many people are booking appointments. If there’s always an opening on a given day, then there may be no reason to schedule something a year or two in advance.

If there’s a high volume, though, open up your appointment schedule. You may have heard of restaurants that have reservations years in advance. The reason is probably their popularity: People simply need to wait that long in order to get a table. 

Booking appointments far in advance can create a sense of exclusivity. If that’s your strategy, however, do your best to cater to people who would prefer to be served sooner. 

5. How far ahead has my business planned?

Your company calendar will be a big factor in how far ahead customers can schedule appointments. If you have a ton of new initiatives in the works for next quarter, then it may not be a good idea to book it up already.

Remember, customer expectations should be set at the time of booking. If you know your service offerings are going to change, then it’s probably best to shut off bookings past that period. 

Another way to think about this is based on the season. Your company may see a surge in clients in one season and a drastic decrease in another. If that’s the case for your company, you can prepare for the busy season by getting appointments booked far ahead. 

6. What are my goals for recurring clients?

Some businesses automatically schedule recurring clients after their most recent appointment. A dentist’s office, for example, typically schedules clients every 6 months. That kind of schedule can get customers into a rhythm. 

Some people prefer to plan in advance, while others like to live by the seat of their pants. Some are more diligent than others about keeping appointments. Others tend to go with the flow. 

Extending your scheduling horizon can help you accommodate all types of clients. Your stricter customers will like having something locked in, and you’ll still have space available for those who like to book at the last minute. 

Appointments are a juggling act. There are pros and cons to scheduling things far out, just as there are for short-term scheduling. Let your customers guide you, and you’ll make the right call more often than not. 

How to Simplify Scheduling for Working Parents

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Having a quality product or service isn’t enough to attract more customers. Getting more business is a matter of minimizing the obstacles preventing people from engaging. And a key demographic with significant obstacles is working parents. 

Working parents are constantly struggling to balance their careers, families, and personal lives. And that job is even harder in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the school year begins, many parents will have to homeschool on top of their other parenting and professional duties. 

Because they have to prioritize, many of them let their appointments fall by the wayside. Therefore, anything your business can do to make scheduling and attending appointments easier on working parents benefits you both.

Working parents have their work cut out for them. Use these simple strategies to tap this valuable, time-crunched audience:

1. Normalize self-service scheduling.

Allowing customers to schedule their own appointments can be a gamechanger. Working parents, in particular, want this ability. They simply don’t have time to hop on the phone for every appointment they make. 

It only takes a handful of scheduling calls to disrupt your daily flow. But with self-service scheduling, you can book appointments at any time of day and on any day of the week. 

Letting clients schedule their appointments makes things simpler for them and your employees. Working parents need this kind of flexibility; if you can deliver, you’ll bring more of them in your door. 

2. Create special times for working parents.

A way to demonstrate your awareness of working parents’ circumstances is to offer special hours for them. This could double as a promotional opportunity for your company. 

Think about this strategy like parking lot spaces for expectant mothers: It’s easy to offer, and people will respect it because they understand the plight of working parents.

For an added layer of protection, give working parents special access codes for your scheduling software. Not only does that support them, but it helps you collect data on a key customer demographic: What proportion of your client base is working parents, and how often do they visit?

3. Initiate contact.

Working parents are a lot more likely to make an appointment if you initiate the process. Don’t think of it as bugging them; treat it like an additional service you provide your most loyal customers. 

The good news is, there are a number of ways to get the ball rolling:

  • Ask them about scheduling their next appointment after their current one.
  • Send an email reminder about scheduling after a predetermined amount of time.
  • Call them with their permission.
  • Set up recurring appointments.

All of these methods can help get your clients into a routine. The more they interact with your company, the more important you become to them. The result is fewer cancellations, no-shows, and difficult clients.

4. Bring your business to them.

There’s nothing wrong with bringing more customers in your door. But if you can, why not offer house calls? Parents who need to stay home in order to watch their kids will appreciate it. 

A big part of making an appointment is getting there. Remember, not every client lives right next to your business. Designate a radius you’ll drive to for house calls, and make this public on your website. Blast it out on social media, and see how many working parents sign up. 

If house calls aren’t a fit for your business model, consider delivery. While you can’t deliver a service, it would certainly help working parents if their eye doctor would drop off contacts to try on, for instance. 

5. Make your office kid-friendly. 

Parents often worry that bringing their children to an appointment will disturb others. In a kid-friendly office environment, it’s not nearly as much of a concern. 

Setting up a play area in your office could solve this problem easily. Provide kids with toys and space, and they’ll stay out of other customers’ hair. Include a water cooler and some snacks in case kids — or their parents — get hungry or thirsty while they wait.

Working parents aren’t a rare breed. There are bound to be working parents at your company who can attest to that. Accommodating their — and their kids’ — needs isn’t always easy, but it can make a night-and-day difference to your company’s bottom line. 

Productivity Journal vs. Time Trackers

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Like many others, I’ve spent years on a productivity quest. That may sound hyperbolic. But, think about it. We’re constantly adjusting productivity strategies and experimenting with new hacks.

Sometimes this works out, other times they don’t. And, that’s okay. Productivity is discovering what works best for you and being flexible enough to implement these changes.

But, I have noticed something throughout this journey. All of these hacks and techniques are pointless if you first haven’t tracked your time.

That more sound laborious. However, being productive gives you purpose. It’s also good for your health and wellbeing. And, because you’re getting more done in less time, it improves the quality of your personal and professional lives.

To figure this out, we can use one of the following methods; productivity journals and time trackers. While there are differences, both have the same goal; helping you become a lean, mean productivity machine.

Each method gives you a chance to pinpoint your personal production peaks. They also give you a chance to clarify your goals, track your progress, and reflect on what works and what doesn’t. They can even let you know where you’re wasting time and what’s getting in the way of your productivity, such as your biggest distractions.

Possessing this knowledge allows you to make the proper adjustments so that you can finally work smarter, not harder. But, which method should you use? Well, let’s figure that out.

What Are Productivity Journals?

As the name implies, productivity journals are journals that document your productivity. Although you might be tempted to think of this as a diary, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Sure, it’s a place to log your activities, but the logging of those activities is more matter-of-fact than emotionally driven,” explains Jessica Greene over at Zapier. “It’s more ‘I worked on a blog post all day’ and less ‘Writing this post reignited my dreams of launching my own blog.’

“You can add entries to a productivity journal as often or infrequently as you want,” adds Greene. “Each time you complete a task, at the end of the day, or even once a week. And you can document that information wherever you want: A paper notebook, an app, or anywhere else that saves text.”

The only criteria are you “save everything you write in it” and keep in one location. Why? Well, you’ll need this information so that you can “go back and access previous entries to see how you spent your time on different types of tasks and projects.”

How do you use it?

The best thing about productivity journals is that they’re flexible and simple to use. In fact, you can create a powerful productivity journal in just three steps:

  • Record. List your big goals for the day, week, month, quarter, or year. Keep this to no more than 8 items so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Next, break these down into more manageable mini-goals.
  • Analyze. Track your progress, tasks, and emotion for a month. You’re doing this to pick up on patterns so that you know your energy highs and lows, where you succeeded, and what needs to be developed upon.
  • Improve. Analyze your data so that can clearly see where you need to improve. For example, what if you notice that you have the most energy and focus in the morning? Then that’s when you would start scheduling your most important or challenging tasks for the day.

Another practice would be writing down your top goal for the day. It will remind you what you’re working towards on a daily basis, explains Jari Roomer. Other key components for this method would be setting 1-3 daily goals/targets/intentions, the lessons learned, and your daily wins. Roomer also suggests jotting down any thoughts or ideas that pop-up.

For more complex journaling practices you could try Interstitial Journaling. “During your day, journal every time you transition from one work project to another,” explains Tony Stubblebine—Founder and CEO of Coach.me. “Write a few sentences in your journal about what you just did, and then a few more sentences about what you’re about to do.”

He adds that this world well with the Pomodoro Technique. After working for a 25-minute block, journal for 5-minutes. At the minimum, note the time, what you just accomplished, and what you’re going to do next.

The pros and cons of journaling.

As someone who enjoys writing, I’m a champion of journaling. I find it therapeutic and it gets all of these ideas out of my head so that I can focus. Moreover, it brings clarification to my goals and allows me to reflect on my progress.

Additionally, assist you in prioritizing problems and identifying solutions. Science has also found that journaling can stretch your IQ, invoke mindfulness, improve your memory, and spark your creativity. It can also help you develop emotional intelligence, self-discipline, and stringer communication skills.

That doesn’t mean that productive journaling is flawless. It can also be time-consuming and difficult to analyze. Mainly this is because journaling focuses more on how you feel. That makes it easier to overlook certain problems, such as unconscious behaviors like spending too much time on a website.

The best tools for productivity journaling.

If you want to give productivity journaling a chance, you just need a notebook and a pen. However, there are notebooks specifically designed for this task. There are also some digital options if you want to be more eco-friendly and access your planner from your devices.

1. The Productivity Planner

Printed on sustainable paper, this planner is pretty straightforward. It helps you set your most important and secondary tasks for the week. It also allows you to rate your productivity for the day, plan your week, and stay focused with the Pomodoro work system.

2. Bullet Journal

“Created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer, in 2013 bullet journaling is simply a method for note-taking and day-planning using good ol’ paper and pen,” explains Calendar co-founder John Hall. In other words, it’s a “customizable journal that’s a cross between a planner — to-do list — and diary” designed for rapid logging.

3. Franklin Covey Planners

Considered the grandfather of all planners, these will help “you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals.” What’s more, there is a variety of options ranging from daily planners to monthly calendar tabs.

4. Passion Planner

Sure, the #pashfam rely on this to organize their lives and keep track of their goals. But, for them, they consider the Passion Planner as a “paper life coach.” They offer a variety of colors and options like weekly, annual, and academic.

5. The SELF Planner

“The Self Planner helps you master your time, focus on what’s important, and take control of your life — every day,” states it’s site. “Use the various templates to get clear on your priorities, mastermind your future, and infuse every day with the things that matter most to you.”

6. The ONE Thing Planner

Based on the personal planners of coauthors Jay Papasan and Gary Keller, this planner is intended to help your identify your priorities. From there, you can use it to make sure that your daily activities are aligned with them.

7. The Mastery Journal

The makers behind this journal state that this “will guide you in mastering productivity, discipline, and focus in 100 days.” It was developed by entrepreneur John Lee Dumas, who used these skills to build multiple multi-million dollar businesses.

8. The High-Performance Planner

You can use this planner to get into the right mindset, prioritize your goals, rate your performance, and strategically plan your day. Since it’s also a journal, you can capture thoughts and ideas and take note of where you need to improve.

9. The Morning Sidekick

If you want to have a productive day, then you need to start off on the right foot. And, that’s exactly what this journal does. It encourages you to self-reflect, plan your day, and map out your biggest task. There are also pages to track your progress to hold yourself accountable.

10. Note-taking apps.

Finally, if you want to go digital, you’re in luck. If you use the big three, then there’s Microsoft OneNote, Apple Notes, and Google Keep. But, there’s also the popular Evernote app that’s ideal for everyone. If distractions are an issue, try out Simplenote.

Of course, you could also track your productivity using a spreadsheet management expert and author Jim Collins or this one from Chris Baily. There are also premade worksheets like the 168 Hours Timesheet.

What Are Time Trackers?

Time trackers essentially do the same thing that productivity journals do. They shine a light on when you’re most energetic, focused, and motivated. Additionally, they can pinpoint when and where you’re wasting your valuable time.

The key difference? Time trackers are digital tools that run in the background of your devices. That means they track your time automatically without you even realizing it. Better yet, they analyze the data and make suggestions on where and how to improve.

How do you use it?

Here’s what’s great about time tracking apps and software. Just download it and you’re pretty much all set. Some tools will just automatically track and categorize how you’re spending your time on your computer or phone.

Others, however, will require you to hit start, pause, or end. Usually, these types of solutions are used more for billing purposes. But, they can still provide an accurate picture of what your screen time looks like in real-time.

The pros and cons of time trackers.

The main advantage with time trackers is that you don’t have to manually do this task. You can essentially set it and forget it. That’s perfect if you feel that journaling is too time-consuming and tedious.

Another perk is that these tools are more accurate and objective then productivity journaling. They are literally monitoring your activity to see when you’re most productive and what distracts you. They will then analyze this information and show you how you can work better.

But, just like journals, there are issues with time tracking. Most notably, they don’t take into account the emotional context of work. Why is that important? Because emotions provide insights into what motivates you and how to improve your performance.

Another drawback is that there isn’t offline functionality. You may even forget to track tasks like checking your email or attending meetings. And, there are also times when the app or software is buggy and provides inaccurate reports.

The best time tracking tools.

If you decide to use a time tracking tool, here are some of the best options available.

1. Calendar

Calendar is a scheduling tool that also provides analytics to see where your time is going. It uses machine learning to review data like meeting distribution. As a result, it will make smart suggestions on when and where to plan your next event. It can even provide a breakdown of who you’re spending time with.

2. Toggl

Available for iOS, Android, the web, Toggl offers a basic version or a more robust paid option. It’s a popular time tracking tool thanks to its simple interface. In fact, you can get started with just one-click. If you forget, it will remind you to start tracking. Another cool feature is the ability to track idle time.

3. RescueTime

As with Toggl, RescueTime is available for Android, Apple, and desktops. It also only takes one-click to get started. However, it automatically tracks the time you spend on apps, websites, and documents. It can even block the most distracting sites and apps as well.

4. Timely

Timely is another tool that will start to automatically track your time by running quietly in the background. It also uses AI to analyze and categorize how you’re spending your time. It can be used for individual use or for teams.

5. Harvest

If you’re flying solo, Harvest is an excellent tool for tracking billable hours. If you have a team, Harvest can keep track of your team’s time via timesheets. In addition to being compatible with most phones and browsers, it also integrates with tools like Slack, Trello, and Zapier.

6. Clockify

What makes Clokify stand out is that it’s 100% free. But, don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s subpar. With this tool, can track hours using a timer, categorize time by project, and mark time as billable. It also provides a visual breakdown of how you’re spending your time.

7. Timeular

Unlike the other selections listed here, this is actually a nifty 8-sided dice. After assigning an activity to each side, you simply place it on your desk. When it’s time to start an activity flip it to start. It is accompanied by a mobile and desktop app as well.

8. Wrike

Wrike flawlessly combines project management and time tracking. Although it may not be the most accurate time tracker, it’s definitely helpful when collaborating with others.

9. Time Doctor

Time Doctor is a fully customizable tool designed for teams. It takes screenshots to track activity, reminds you to stay off distracting apps and sites, and even monitors when users take breaks. You can also organize it to track the time spent on specific projects and clients.

10. Forest

Forest is an app that’s mean to keep you focused and present. How? By being a gamified Pomodoro timer, time tracker, and app blocker all rolled into one. Even better, the app has partnered with Trees for the Future to plant real trees.

The Final Verdict

Which method is more effective? Well, that’s totally up to you depending on your preferences and goals. If you want to stop wasting time on your screen, time trackers can produce more accurate insights. If you want to improve your motivation, productivity journaling may be the way to go.

In my opinion, I think a hybrid approach is best. Journaling gives you that much needed emotional context, while time trackers deliver hard data. Combining that information gives you a better understanding of how you’re spending your time and where to improve.

How to Plan Your Perfect Eating Schedule

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As wonderful as eating is, it takes a lot of time. Planning your meals can give you more time to enjoy your food, as well as more time to get things done. 

Meal-planning is not just about figuring what to eat. Eating at the right time can boost your energy, keep you feeling full throughout the workday, and cut down on your snack intake. 

We’re wired to think about eating in terms of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The trouble is, the same eating schedule doesn’t work for everyone. What if you work the night shift? What if you need to spend your lunch break running errands?

The solution is to find eating times that work for you. Here’s how to do it: 

1. Keep tabs on your productivity.

Everyone has their own daily rhythm. Some people are most productive in the morning, while others crank out their best work in the afternoon or at night.

To figure out when you should eat, think through your peaks and troughs. If you usually take lunch at noon but always feel groggy afterward, try a different time. Eating earlier in the day could keep you from crashing as hard. 

2. Monitor your hunger.

Hunger is your body telling you to feed it. Even if you’re in your groove at work, don’t ignore it. 

Try not to think of hunger as a binary. Are you hungry enough for a full meal, or would a granola bar be enough? There’s nothing wrong with putting a 3 p.m. snack on your schedule, as long as it’s truly a snack. 

Realize, too, that our body isn’t great at distinguishing hunger from thirst. Practice mindful eating: Sometimes, a drink of water is what we really need. At other times, our body might be responding to a nutrient deficiency rather than a lack of raw calories. 

3. Snack responsibly. 

Snacks can be part of a healthy diet, but they should not be arbitrary. Plan out your snack times so you don’t overeat, and so that you can focus on your work. 

Try to combine snacks with other break-time activities. Maybe you bring a bag of trail mix along with you on a walk. That way, your sole focus isn’t shoveling food into your mouth.

If you struggle with snacking, get an accountability partner. At home, encourage your spouse to say something if you grab the bag of chips right after dinner. 

In the office, social norms can keep people from speaking up. A good alternative is to ask your office manager to choose healthier snacks, which are both less tempting and less harmful if you do decide to binge. 

4. Consider when you exercise.

Planning meals around your workout schedule can be tough. If you prefer to exercise first thing, then you need to think through your morning routine: How are you going to wake up, work out, shower, eat breakfast, and still get out the door in time for work?

If you want to exercise after work, be sure you get a bite to eat 2-3 hours in advance. Depending on when you get off work, this might mean taking a later lunch than people typically do. And because making dinner takes time, it might also mean eating supper later in the evening. 

As important as exercise is, don’t let it dictate your meal schedule. Find a balance: Perhaps you work out earlier than you otherwise would so that you have time for a filling breakfast before heading to the office. 

5. Factor in your sleep schedule.

Most people have trouble falling asleep on a full stomach. Especially if you exercise after work, avoid eating dinner so late that it gets in the way of your sleep. Popping into the kitchen for a midnight meal is almost never a good idea.  

One exception? If you’re so hungry that you can’t sleep because of it, feel free to grab a late-night snack. Just be sure to practice portion control: Especially when you’re tired, it’s easy to overeat. 

6. Keep it consistent. 

Eating at regular times in the day keeps your metabolism stable. That, in turn, prevents swings in your mood and energy levels.

Be proactive: If you worry that you’ll be so busy tomorrow that you won’t have time for lunch, then it might be best to work a little more before you leave the office today. If you need to wake up early one day, postpone breakfast until your normal time. 

What about special occasions? Events like office parties and birthdays may require you to eat at odd times. That’s OK, as long as you get back to your routine afterward. 

Don’t let eating be a haphazard activity. Prepare healthy meals, choose the right time to eat them, and listen to your body afterward. For finding your ideal eating schedule, self-awareness is key.

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