Just One Thing: Schedule Those Appointments

Lisa Frame
November 3, 2011

This week and next, we're talking about Just One Thing that we can do to be better organized, to whittle down our ever-growing to do lists, to prepare for the holidays, to feel more relaxed. Join us!

Technology. While it's made things easier, it's also made certain things done in daily life a nightmare. Scheduling appointments via a computerized system can be a difficult experience—it's no wonder how we end up with a stack of reminders stuck to the refrigerator!

How do you schedule appointments without making yourself crazy? Here are some hard and fast rules of appointment scheduling to follow:

Make sure your calendar is already in good order. Take a few hours at the first of the school year and plug in all of the dates the kids will have early dismissal and days off. This gives me open slots where I'm not trying to deal with early checkout and the possibility of missed tests, or horror of all horrors, a field trip.

Schedule early
. If you're trying to get a physical two days out, it's not going to happen. Doctors offices book up months in advance and generally can't accommodate quick appointments for well-visits as they only have a limited number each day. (I schedule my hair appointments every five weeks and a year at a time.)

Schedule online. Most offices now allow you to either schedule online with a calendar or via email. It only takes a few minutes out of your day and allows you to receive confirmation of the upcoming appointment when it's verified.

Have a backup calendar. While it might sound like overkill now, wait until your smartphone bricks and you realize you've lost everything entered since your last backup.

For the littlest ones, schedule when it's their best time of day
. If they are happy earliest in the morning? Tell the receptionist. Appointments with a happy child are much better than ones with child miserable because they're missing naptime.

Does everyone go to the same office? Schedule appointments together. Take care of the dentist all in one afternoon. You won't have to do it again for six months. Two hours now can save several hours down the road.

Make a list of questions. I always have a small notebook in my purse and can jot down questions in the weeks before my appointment. It makes things much easier than trying to remember everything you want to ask after checking in.

Finally, be patient. The person answering the phones isn't out to prevent you from scheduling your appointment, but they have rules in place they have to follow for scheduling.

What tips and tricks do you have for appointment scheduling? We'd love to hear them below...

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