Appointments are a means of time management and organization. By making them, you are reserving a specific time to accomplish tasks and minimize the amount of waiting you will have to do. They are a vital part of social etiquette, needed to ensure no one is inconvenienced or ignored. And without them, there’s no guarantee your wait will have any payoff. In this second part of our Adulting Series, we will go over what types of appointments you might need and how and when to schedule them.
What Appointments Do I Need?
You will need appointments for many aspects of your life. Some appointments you may need are:
- Doctors Appointments (Routine Physicals, Mental Health Counselor, Health Specialists)
- Educational Planning (Academic Advisor, Meetings with Professors )
- Work Appointments (Job Interviews, Team Meetings, Client Meetings)
- DMV Appointments (Driver’s Tests, ID Renewals and Replacements)
How to Schedule Appointments
There are different methods for scheduling different types of appointments, but the basic steps are the same.
Call, email, or use another means of communication to get in touch with the person, group, business, or organization you wish to make the appointment with. For education-related appointments, it is best to use your student email. For work-related appointments, your work email is necessary.
Work together with your other party to establish a mutually convenient date and time. Discuss and determine the purpose of the meeting so both parties can plan accordingly. You should also discuss the method by which you will be meeting (in-person meeting, phone call, Zoom appointment, etc.) and set a location, if necessary.
Take note of the meeting details and mark the date and time on your calendar or wherever you store your reminders. To be courteous and ensure the other party can do the same, leave your contact information and whatever other information they might require.
For most appointments, you will want to follow the 3-3-3 rule for reminders. This is a rule used by doctors to improve appointment confirmation rates, as they have found that statistically, patients are more likely to confirm appointments when subjected to this method. For appointments made with advanced notice, you should set reminders:
- 3 weeks ahead of appointment
- 3 days ahead of appointment
- 3 hours ahead of appointment
For appointments made on short notice (a week or less from date), this rule can be adapted so reminders are set:
- 3 days ahead of appointment (if applicable)
- 1 day ahead of appointment
- 3 hours ahead of appointment
Confirm your appointment at least once in advance. This will give you advanced notice if there is a cancellation or there are any changes. This is also the time when you want to confirm or ask for details you have not already received, such as location or the Zoom code. Confirmations may yield the best results when coinciding with the 3-3-3 reminders. Make sure to frequently check your email and messages as your appointment so you don’t miss anything!
When to Schedule Appointments
Work Around Your Schedule
Working around your schedule when making appointments is necessary for keeping a functioning schedule. As an adult, you no longer have to miss other commitments for your appointments. In fact, you will find things become more difficult if you do. So, do not plan to miss your classes or work commitments if you can help it. Instead, make appointments after your other obligations or during your free time, or give advance notice of your absence or responsibilities.
Give Yourself 15 Minutes
You want to get to appointments about 15 minutes early to check-in, fill out any paperwork, do any setup, and sort other details before the appointment time. To do this, you will need to schedule not when you will “just make it” but when you can arrive with time to spare.
Example: Your classes end at 2:00 and your school is 20 minutes away from the doctor’s office.
- Do not take an appointment at 2:30 if you can help it.
- Instead, make an appointment for 3:00 or 3:30, if available.
- This time between the two commitments will give you enough time to leave campus and commute to the doctor’s office with thought for traffic, detours, and potential stops.
This rule works similarly for Zoom meetings. You should give yourself an allotted 15 minutes to prepare for the meeting, finish other activities, and remove distractions before this time.
Schedule Recurring Items
It is always a good idea to schedule recurring appointments ahead of time. After every periodic appointment, make sure to set another for the future and keep a note of it. For example, after a monthly meeting with a therapist, make sure to grab an appointment for the next month.
Some recurring appointments can be difficult to remember when scheduled in advance. Routine physicals happen once every 1-3 years for most adults and driver’s license renewals take place once every four years. With these types of appointments, it can be easier to keep a note of when your last appointment was rather than when your next appointment should be.
To better make and remember your appointments, take advantage of scheduling apps. Scheduling apps do a lot of the work for you, remembering important details so you don’t have to. Some useful scheduling apps are:
TIP: Check out Hubspot’s “How to Use Google Calendar: 18 Features That’ll Make You More Productive” to make the most of your time!
Stay tuned as we continue our Adulting Series with our next post, “How to Shop Successfully” on February 16. And don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly blog so you don’t miss out on more posts like this one!
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