I have a coaching client who’s dealing with a serious time management challenge: missing appointments. He tries to keep an awful lot of information in his head, and occasionally the information about appointments disappears from his grey matter. You might be able to slide a bit in your personal life if this is happening, but in the business world, mistakes in time management can be the kiss of death. If you don’t show up to an appointment, you might not get a second chance with the person who was left waiting there for you.
Here are a few quick steps you can take to prevent time management / missed appointment slip-ups from happening:
1. During any conversation in which there’s a proposal to meet, scan your calendar for any conflicts or any major projects due before agreeing to meet.
2. Make sure you hang up the phone or leave the email thread or leave the room knowing the day, date, time, duration, location, and what information or deliverables with which you need to arrive.
3. Before you do anything else, capture this meeting information in whatever calendar system you use. Seriously. Stop for 60 seconds to capture this meeting information. Write it into your paper calendar or add it into your electronic calendar.
4. Send the other party a calendar invite and/or send a confirmation email to the other party with all of the details you’ve agreed upon.
5. At the end of each day, examine your calendar for the next day. Send an email to reconfirm with the other party. If, somehow, you have double-booked yourself, you will be able to contact one of the double-bookings in order to apologize and reschedule. This is infinitely better than not showing up at all, or calling at the last minute. Giving notice the day before will allow the other person to adjust their schedules accordingly.
You may have a mind like a steel trap, but taking these time management precautions can not only free up space in your brain, but will save you from headaches, embarrassment and lost business in the long run.