Most of us schedule our days to within an inch of our lives. We feel the need to fill every single minute with something . . . work, sports, doctor’s appointments, shopping, home maintenance, socializing. You name it, we put it on our calendars and it becomes concrete. Heaven forbid something should happen to mess up our carefully choreographed day. But, sometimes things just happen. Why? How do you handle it? What do you do to make this newly-found time as productive as possible?
1. Reschedule the activity. If you felt it was important enough to put it on your calendar in the first place, it probably needs to be rescheduled. Don’t let those doctor appointments or home maintenance chores just fall through the cracks.
2. Analyze why the schedule change happened in the first place. Here are some common reasons our schedules fall apart:
- We forgot to confirm the appointment.
- We double-booked.
- We under-scheduled the previous appointment and ran long.
- We didn’t account for meeting prep or commute time.
It’s important to identify the WHY behind needing to reschedule so, hopefully, we don’t find ourselves in the same position again.
3. Make this newly-found free time productive. Here are some suggestions:
- De-clutter your e-mail, including “unsubscribing” from all that junk that clogs our e-mail boxes.
- Update your address book and e-mail contact list. This will save tons of time in the long run when you aren’t searching through addresses for people that are no longer part of your work or social circle.
- If you are at home, organize a drawer or two. It will significantly decrease your stress level.
- If you are at the office, get your filing done and clean off your desk. This will give you a clean slate to get back on track for your next meeting or project.
- If you can spare the time, give a friend or family member a call. They will enjoy knowing you are thinking about them and will give you a much-needed distraction from your frustration.
- Write a blog post about what to do when schedules blow up. I found it liberating.
I learned my lesson. What processes are you going to put in place so you don’t have to learn it the hard way too?
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