Of all the things in life that seemingly never seem to end, appointments are some of them. We’ve covered business meetings along similar lines in the past, but it’s important to remember that appointments make more than just the business world go round. We’ll touch on all aspects of daily life in this feature, with the ultimate goal of giving every reader actionable tips on how they can make their life more efficient – appointments included.
1. Know What the Appointment Involves Ahead of Time
Appointments fill a broad scope of activities, from getting your hair cut to selling your house. Many parts of your life involve face to face contact, even in the internet age. Feel free to make as many appointments as you like, but always ensure you know what each entails. For a haircut, that’s always easy enough, but for more complex meetings, you’ll need to think about what you need beforehand. In sheer efficiency terms, having a handle on what you’ll cover will give you an idea of how long an appointment will take – and how soon after you can make the next one.
2. Try to Be Flexible when Offering Dates and Times
Appointments work both ways, and you’ll find that people need to make them with you as well as the other way around. Being more efficient doesn’t need to mean operating on a rigid schedule. If you want to make a good impression on whoever you meet with, you should have several options to hand when they contact you to arrange something. That will enhance their opinion of you and also save you time. Those minutes lost back and forth on the phone and by email sorting out a time that everyone can agree to can all add up.
3. You Don’t Need Fancy Software to Track Appointments
The available options for the scheduling and management of appointments are limited only by your budget. Even if it feels like you spend most of your life in meetings, don’t be tempted. We love technology as much as the next person, but this is one of those times where we wonder how anyone got anywhere on time before computers if this software is necessary. Use technology, by all means, but limit it to the calendar app on your phone.
4. Do You Really Need to Be There?
Appointments that involve the provision of a service, such as the aforementioned haircut, tend to rely on you and at least one other party. However, if it’s for any other purpose, either inside or outside of work, stop and briefly think about whether an appointment is required. In the name of efficiency, you want to get things done as quickly and comfortably as possible. If an appointment risks slowing you down, it’s not serving the right purpose.
5. Keep Travel Time Down
The underlying idea behind this feature is to get more done in as little time as possible. Rarely are good results more evident than when it comes to travel time. Hopefully, you already take travelling into account when blocking off your diary. If not, now’s the perfect time to start. Further to this, the less time you spend on it, the more efficient you become. Get selfish if you like and only schedule appointments on your own premises. Failing that, attempt to cut out travel time completely and meet online. Not everything will be on your own terms, but it balances out with meetings that are.
6. Block Off Time at the Beginning and End
If the purpose of your appointment is to achieve something, and it’s more formal than meeting for a coffee, it is good to take a bit of time at each end to gather your thoughts. Open with intros and a general overview of what you want to cover and close with a summary of what’s decided and who is responsible for what going forward.
7. Make Each Appointment More Effective by Splitting Business and Pleasure
We set out our aim to help anyone with appointments, whether they’re mainly for work or otherwise. If you mix both, the best thing to do is try not to let them overlap. This isn’t a hard rule, as if your dentist works next door to your accountant, it makes sense to schedule them one after the other. Nevertheless, you’ll achieve more in less time simply due to your mindset. If you’re ready to work, you’ll favour productivity and it can be hard to switch gears if your next appointment is viewing a house – unless you like to take a businesslike approach.
8. Keep Everything Up to Date
If you’re a person that likes to organise their life, you probably make all your appointments yourself. If you’re reading this from a business perspective, you may have people that fill your diary for you. No matter which category you fall into, you need to stay on top of things and if there is more than one person involved, they all need to keep in the loop.
9. Keep Personnel to a Minimum
At the hairdresser, you need a stylist and that’s it. At a house viewing, you need the agent or someone that lives there and nobody else. When you see an accountant, it’s just you and them. Not every appointment needs to be one on one, especially if it’s a business meeting, but there’s a skill in not inviting people for the sake of it. If you’re unsure if someone will add to the conversation, go with ‘no’. You’re doing them a favour as they then have that time to do something else.
10. Confirm on the Day
Once you get appointment efficiency down to an art, you may find each day planned out weeks or months in advance. However, not everyone is as organised as you are, so make sure you confirm their attendance close to each event.