Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Appointments, Service

Waiting for service. And waiting. And waiting.

Have you ever called to have a drain unclogged, a plumbing leak fixed, or your heating system serviced? How about carpet cleaned, furniture delivered, or an estimate made for a landscaping project?

All of these things involve waiting for these folks to show up. You know the drill: "We'll be by some time between 7 and 10." About halfway into supper, your doorbell rings and there's the plumber.

This "less than precision arrival time" scenario doesn't happen not because these folks like to make you wait. It happens because they have to see many other customers, and they can't accurately predict an exact time.

I waited seven years to have my phone lines fixed (Southwestern Bull, er, I mean Bell), and finally gave up on it and switched to VOIP. Most waits are not that long, however. Most of the time, you wait around an entire morning or afternoon. While you're waiting, you hate to really dig into anything that requires concentration. So, what can you do?

One solution is to bunch appointments. It's not likely all the service providers will show up at the same time. And so what if they do? For example, the furnace repair tech and the landscaper aren't going to be in each other's way.

If you're going to call someone to fix your clogged drain, you're going to be waiting anyhow. As soon as you make that appointment, think of what other services you can schedule at that time (even if they are a bit early in terms of the calendar), and schedule them for that same day. Bonus: If you have related needs that the same firm can tend to, you end up eliminating multiple call-out fees.

For example, call the plumber to fix a leak. But also change out your toilet shutoff valves from the failure-prone stupid ones that home-builders install to the reliable flip-valves. Sooner or later, you will have a plumber change out these valves. You save a service call (plus all that wasted water) by having this done when you have that drain unclogged.

Another solution is to keep a list of low-concentration tasks you can undertake. You can also engage in these tasks during those times you call a business and are put on hold (note--Mindconnection customers are never put on hold). Or, while you are around and available for questions the service person may have, you can do activities where an interruption isn't a big deal.

Here are some sample activities:

  • Pull out furniture and dust behind it.
  • Clean out kitchen drawers (remove the contents, clean the surfaces, and then put things back neatly).
  • Go through any medications you have, and toss old stuff.
  • Go through old music albums (tapes, CDs, etc.) and put the stuff you no longer listen to in a box for charity.
  • Go through a closet and look for unused things to sell, give away, or throw away.
  • Go through your filing cabinet(s) and toss old papers--such as expired warranties, expired coupons, and very old utility statements.
  • Wipe dust and grime from door jambs.
  • Clean your bathroom mirror(s).
  • Organize your tax papers.
  • Dust your bookshelves--take books off, dust, put books back.
  • Clean around and behind your major appliances.

None of these is an essential activity. But each of these will bring a bit more order to your surroundings. I tend to "keep up" with all of these, because I do them during those downtime situations that normally just waste time. A cordless telephone with headset is indispensable.



Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.