Here’s a picture of the gas company digging up my yard looking for the second leak.  (They found the first one right away!)  I won’t bore you with the details (really, who wants to hear about someone else’s crappy home ownership challenges?!)  I’ll just give you the facts . . .

  • Everyone is fine
  • The leaks were both found
  • The process took 2 days

So, what does this have to do with time management?

Let me set the stage . . . I work from home.  The gas company was here for two days.  Did I mention I work from home?

One of the calendar strategies I teach my clients is to only fill 50% of each day with scheduled activities.  This way, they can react to emerging priorities – such as changed deadlines, appointments that run over, new opportunities, and gas leaks.  (Ok – I don’t usually use gas leaks as an example, but I will now!)

Since the technicians needed access to the house, I couldn’t pack up my laptop and work at my local Panera.  (My favorite place to work when there are distractions at home.)   But, I also couldn’t hold my coaching appointments, since it certainly wasn’t quiet – and I was needed to answer questions periodically.  This meant I needed to reschedule appointments.  Since I only schedule 50% of each day – I was easily able to reschedule each appointment – most within a 24 – 48 hour time frame.  

Imagine how this scenario could have played out if each day was filled with 80 – 90% scheduled appointments!  It could take weeks before I could get “caught up”. 

It’s important to realize – that I didn’t just consider the 2 days I spent with the wonderful professionals (they truly are both wonderful and professional) at the gas company a wash – I still accomplished items on my task list.  They were just items I had planned to do later in the week.   Think of it as a swap.  I switched “non client” activities with “client” activities for two days.

How full do you schedule your calendar?  What’s your favorite technique if your day gets a little off track?