Build in space between appointments
iStock/Choreograph Therapist Mallory Grimste says that when she first opened her therapy practice, she made the awful mistake of scheduling six clients back-to back, all in a row. “Thankfully my clients were kind and understanding when I needed to step out between appointments to use the bathroom or sneak a quick snack,” she says. Her advice: Schedule time for bathroom, lunch, and reset breaks. “Just because you have space in your schedule, does not mean it needs to be filled with work, appointments, or other obligations.” Also, feel free to book nothing on your calendar—an hour to literally do nothing.
Prioritize, and don’t always schedule to the minute
iStock/xijian Grimste also suggests making a general plan for the day, rather than a tightly programmed schedule. “Obviously there are items that need to be scheduled at a certain time such as an appointment, however, having a general list of tasks makes it easier to follow and complete,” she says. “I try to keep my main list to three MITs (Most Important Tasks) to complete that day; then if I complete those items I can move to the rest of my list which I often am able to do.” Don’t miss these effortless ways to be more productive.
Plan for the unknown
iStock/BraunS Even if you’re running right on time, odds are good that other people aren’t. If someone else is running late, that, in turn, will make you late, and that can make you crazy. (Learn the best ways to tame your anxiety.) There’s always traffic to account for, public transportation that doesn’t run on time, and longer lines at stores and pharmacies than you anticipate. Knowing you’ve got a cushion can really take the pressure off, so bring a small book or listen to a guided meditation on your phone in case you find yourself with some time to kill.