Last Minute No-Show? How to Make the Most of that One Free Hour

She was just sitting there, reading a book.

In her office. In the middle of the day.

The first time I saw that, I was startled. Didn’t she have a client? A phone call to return? Paperwork to file? Something to do?

Not really. Because of where she was at that point in her practice, she didn’t stress much over other things. So when she found a free hour due to a cancellation or a rare no-show, she used that time to catch up on her latest novel.

I was astonished. How in the world does someone have time in the middle of the work day to read a dang book? For pleasure no less!

Apparently, it wasn’t that hard! :)

What that showed me was that there are many ways to use a suddenly free hour, and that it’s worth it to think about what’s best for you.

If you run a business that centers heavily on client appointments, you likely run into this from time to time.

For some of you, that suddenly free hour may be frustrating – especially if it means a loss of income you were counting on.

For others, that suddenly free hour may be an excuse to blow off time, take a nap, wander through Facebook for a while.

What matters most is that you are intentional about your choice. If you’re going to blow off time, do it on purpose. Consciously and deliberately.

Because that free hour is found time, and you can use that in a lot of great ways.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

 Working IN Your Business

  • Returning all the calls from last week that you still haven’t gotten to.
  • Prepping and mailing statements for clients who have a balance due.
  • Paying a few bills, balancing your checkbook, checking your accounts.
  • Cleaning out or catching up on your filing.
  • Shredding old charts or sensitive documents you no longer need.
  • Reviewing your online and digital calendars for the next several weeks, making sure that you’re clear on upcoming deadlines.
  • Reviewing your master to-do list for tasks that you can complete and/or delete.

Working ON Your Business

  • Crafting the next round of warm letters for key contacts on your Keep-In-Touch (KIT) list.
  • Following up with at least three key referral sources with a call or a note.
  • Mapping out next month’s content for your blog or social media posts.
  • Sketching out an outline for a workshop, course or group you want to create.
  • Sending a hand-written card to a current or past favorite client, just because.
  • Researching places where you could speak, or revising your trademark talk.
  • Fine-tuning the copy on the About page of your website.

Taking Care of the BOSS

  • Reading a book. :)
  • Taking a 15-minute power nap on the office couch.
  • Going for a 20-minute cobweb-clearing walk around the block.
  • Scheduling self-care appointments (medical/dental check-ups, energy work, massage, mani-pedi’s, hair stylist)
  • Planning a game night with friends, or a date night with your S.O.
  • Taking 15 minutes for a little deep breathing and meditation
  • Finding a tutorial video and trying “Yoga At Your Desk”.

And of course, I could go on and on.

“Found time” doesn’t have to be when you have a client cancellation. It can be when you’re waiting to pick up the kids at school, when lunch plans fall through, or when you’re stuck at home in the snow.

I find that the best, most productive days at my desk are when I am super clear about what is most important to me on any given day. Then, when I have “found time”, I don’t waste it with indecision.

You’re busy. You have a lot to do, and all three areas I laid out above are equally important.

 You may also like:

What to Do About Set-Backs and Settled-For’s

The Most Effective Ways to Start Your Day

5 of the Best Tools to Power Your Productivity

What to Do When Your Mind is (Too) Full


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