I am a professional organizer. My weekly schedule is all over the place. Some weeks I work long days with clients and end up way too tired at the end of the week. Some weeks I spend most of my time at my desk and go stir crazy. My ideal week is a nice mix of working with clients and taking care of admin work. I can not really control when I will get new clients or when my existing ones want extra time. I can, of course, always say no to jobs when I am overbooked or exhausted, but find that I rarely do.
On Sundays I set out my intended schedule for the week. I have a plan for every day. It is pretty rare if my schedule ends up the way it was planned. I may have someone new call in for an appointment. More often I have clients who need to reschedule, move the time a bit, or cancel for the week.
So, what to do when I get a cancellation or postponement and now have some found time?
It it’s an entire day, like a snow day, the best way to use the time might be just to relax. Read a book. Spend some quality time with my husband.
It it’s a half day, I might use part of it on a project that has been on the burner too long and then reward that work with reading or doing something in my home just for family.
If it is 15 minutes to 30 minutes then the time is more likely to be frittered away if there is no plan. I have a saying by my desk that says, “Savor or Squander”. So rather than spend that time scrolling through Facebook, I have a list of things I can do without any thought.
Work on clearing out my email inbox
Follow up with potential clients via a quick email or call
Clear off my desk and tidy my office
Work on an upcoming blog
Work on a presentation
Exercise in the office
Walk around my yard
Update my timeline for a project
The idea is that you stay in control of how your time is used. How you use found time depends on you, your working style, and what is pressing on your to do list. But do make a conscious decision what to do with the gift of found time. Put those chunks of time to their most productive use for you.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer