# # Scheduling time loosely
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Scheduling time loosely

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© December 2005 Tony Lawrence

I've heard more than a few self employed people express annoyance with medical doctors. When we have a 10:00 AM appointment, we don't expect to be still waiting at quarter to eleven. Unlike the people who have taken the whole day off from their jobs, we're probably still working, sick or not. Our time is valuable, and we don't like being the victims of unrealistic scheduling.

Of course we understand emergencies, but we also understand that doctors book appointments with an eye more toward maximum income than maximum patient satisfaction. Part of that is the nature of the work: a dentist has a very good idea how long a scheduled visit will require, but a medical doctor really doesn't. So, rather than have down time, they pack the schedule tightly.

I don't know if there's anything to be done about that, but I do know that many consultants and service providers over book their days also. Like doctors, these businesses sometimes don't know how long an appointment will take, and need to make some estimate that neither restricts their income potential or upsets too many customers. Unfortunately, too many lean toward a tighter schedule rather than one more realistic.

I tend toward very loose. Most days, I book only one appointment, even if I know it can't possibly be more than an hour. I do this for a number of reasons: it's far less stressful for me, it leaves me open for emergencies, and if there is "down time", well, I always have plenty of fill-in projects to work on (like writing these articles). This schedule doesn't maximize my income, but I'm happy, relaxed, and don't often feel harried and stressed by work demands.

Consider loosening up your schedule. It may cost less than you think and gain you more. You'll be able to think more clearly, get a lot of those small details cleaned up, and you'll probably do better work all around.

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