Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Scheduling Appointments

I have a dermatologist appointment today. This is the second dermatologist I've had since moving to Ohio over three years ago. The first one made me wait over an hour, and I happened to be suffering from hip issues at the time, so sitting was pretty painful. He was antagonistic when I mentioned the long wait and saw me for five minutes. The waiting room was standing room only, and it was obvious that the office overbooked for the convenience of the doctor.

He is obviously no longer my dermatologist. My current dermatologist is head of the department of dermatology at a local hospital, but my wait is usually no longer than 15 minutes. It is possible to run a busy practice efficiently! Can you tell that waiting is not one of my gifts? :-)

When I call to get information when looking for a new doctor, one of the questions I ask is whether the doctor generally runs on time and how long a usual wait is. I was sold when my current physician's receptionist said the wait was usually no longer than 15 minutes, and she would try to see me the same day if I had a sudden concern. I understand there are emergencies and the like, but long waits don't necessarily need to be the norm.

When I schedule appointments, I try to schedule them so I don't have to disrupt my schedule. Whether it's an organizing appointment, a doctor's appointment, or a meeting, I try to work around things that are important to me. For example, I try to go to an acquatics class each morning at 8, which means I'm showered and dressed by 9:15. So I try to schedule accordingly. It doesn't always work, but I try.

When I call for appointments, I ask when the shortest wait will be. Many times it is the earliest morning appointment or the first one after lunch. If your doctor makes rounds in the morning, the first appointment after lunch may be the best. One ob/gyn doc I went to in the past was notoriously late. I got into the habit of calling to see if they were running on time. It really scored points with me when a dentist I had in Maryland would call and say they had an emergency and they were running behind.

I also try to schedule appointments when I know I'm going to be out anyway. I'd rather schedule several things for one day rather than interrupt several days with appointments. Of course, if your appointments involve your children, you'll have to take into consideration their naptimes and mealtime needs.

If you are working in an office, schedule appointments with a starting and ending time. And schedule appointments back-to-back with just a few minutes preparation time in between. By scheduling appointments together, you will hopefully be able to schedule uninterrupted, productive time on other days rather than have a week that is plagued by short, choppy unproductive time.

Don't let your appointments run late. Set an alarm or ask your receptionist or secretary to interrupt you when the appointment is to be over. If you respect your own time and that of those with whom you meet, they will know they need to get their business with you completed in the allotted time. And you will not be tempted to stretch out the appointment unnecessarily. For more tips on time management at the office check out our Three Steps to Time Management at the Office (http://www.1-2-3getorganized.com/).

And always bring something with you to do when you are waiting. I find that if I bring a pleasure book along, I'm in a much better mood if I have to wait - it's like having luxurious time to myself!

What tips do you have for scheduling appointments and making them efficient?

No comments: