Welcome to the third installment of our blog miniseries: Time Management Essentials for Busy Professionals. Join us as we review essential tips, techniques, and methods for saving time, increasing productivity, and improving customer service for your business.
Earlier in this series, we discussed how planning your week in advance can save you time and stress throughout the week. We went over setting up blocks of time for your client appointments and fitting other tasks, like ordering supplies and keeping up with inventory, in between. In this installment, we are going to go more in-depth into creating a daily schedule that will work for you and your clients.
Unlike your weekly schedule, which is based on appointments you’ve made with your clients, this schedule will work as a template for each day of the week. This will give you a structure that you can work within to get the optimal number of client appointments in each day without over-stressing you.
How many clients do you want/need to see each day?
To begin, you’ll need to know the bare minimum number of clients you need to see each day (or each week) to make ends meet. When you started your business, you most likely figured this number out in order to make your budget for your business. At this point, though, we’re not only looking at the minimum number of clients you need to see but the maximum you are able to see each day.
Now, if you schedule clients for one-hour sessions with ten minutes in between for transitions, you can technically see six clients in an eight-hour day if you take thirty minutes for lunch and leave twenty minutes at the end of the day to clean up. However, that’s a lot of clients with no real break in between. Scheduling yourself that tightly will likely result in less attention to your clients, more fatigue for you, and more stress, too.
If, on the other hand, you saw a maximum of five clients per day, you would have another hour and ten minutes of time to spread throughout the day for a little bit of relaxation, time to order supplies, or do some clean-up, etc. If you see four clients in a day, you’ll have even more time for this, and you’ll be able to schedule two clients in the morning and two in the afternoon.
Block off times when you CAN’T see clients
With this in mind, knowing that some days you may extend your hours for some clients and on other days you’ll most likely have more free time, set the times at which you won’t be taking clients. These will include your lunch break, time when you need to go run errands for your business, etc. Play with these blocks of time and see if you can group them so that you have large, single blocks of time when you don’t take clients, rather than multiple smaller blocks scattered throughout the day.
Set the times when you’re available for appointments
Once those times are set, you can then plan for the times when you’ll see your clients. This may also help you set your business hours. For example, if you’re unavailable for clients from 1:00-3:00 PM, you may want to set your business hours to 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 3:00-7:00 PM. This way, with an hour break for lunch and an hour to do work while you’re not taking clients, you will only work eight hours each day, and you’ll maximize the time you’re available to your clients.
Tweak your hours as you develop appointment patterns
On that note, as you create your daily schedule, take note of the times when you get the most calls for appointments and the times when you are least busy. If you have a day in the week when no one seems to schedule appointments, you can block off that time to work on inventory, maintenance, and other work that requires your attention. Then you can extend your hours on days when you have more interest.
Set your daily schedule and use it as a template to guide your weekly schedule, but don’t be afraid to adjust and tweak it as you notice different patterns emerge in the flow of your business. Your clients will see that you’re gearing your business hours and services toward them, and they’ll not only keep coming back to you, but they’ll also recommend you to their friends, family, and coworkers, too.