Impromptu Visits – Should You Ignore Your Schedule?

two girls having coffeeYou have your schedule all planned for the week and things are going according to plan. Maybe a couple of hiccups, but all-in-all, you’re on track. Pretty much everything is getting done on your list. Until… a friend (or maybe family member) calls and says “Hey I’m in town today, want to grab lunch?”

Now what? You’d like to see them, but you know if you go then a couple items on your list won’t get done and your schedule will be up in the air for the rest of the day.

So, what to do?

I used to automatically say “nope, sorry, I don’t have time today! But let me know next time you’re in town.” My reasoning was I needed at least 24 hours’ notice to adjust my schedule. And then I realized I hadn’t seen my sister for a couple months or so (she’s usually the one who calls me with these invitations). And I missed seeing her.

Then I realized, one of the reasons working for myself was appealing was so I could occasionally have these impromptu visits. And here I was acting like I was tied to my schedule and to-do list. What happened?

I let my schedule and my to-do list decide everything I would be doing each day. If it wasn’t on the list, and took longer than 10 minutes, I probably didn’t do it (but it might be added to the list for next week).

Here’s what we forget about to-do lists sometimes: they are there to help you, work for you and you do not work for them. Sounds funny to say it like that, but sometimes in our quest to get as much done as we can each day for our business – we forget that there are other things to do. Life doesn’t always fit in nice little compartments and since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you probably really don’t want it to. You want a life with some flexibility.

That’s why Wednesday morning at 9am I was pulling into a local pancake house to have breakfast with Nate (my husband) and some family – instead of sitting in my office starting the day’s work.

However, I’ll admit that when the idea was proposed to me on Tuesday night I wasn’t sure about it. I have things! that must be done! I can’t start my day late, those things! might not get done! (anyone else have those thoughts running through their head sometimes? Or am I the only one? Comment below to share) Then I took a breath and realized I had no appointments scheduled and the things! can be done later.

I have some questions that I tend to ask myself about these unplanned visits:

  • Are there any appointments or meetings that this will overlap or interfere with?
  • Are there any deadlines approaching that will be negatively impacted?
  • Have I already spent time this week with unplanned visits? How will this impact progress on my goals?

The gist of these questions is: will my business or my goals be negatively affected by spending time elsewhere? If so, is spending this time with this person more important than my business and/or goals?

Notice I wrote “is spending this time with” and not “is spending time with.” That one little word changes the meaning of the sentence a bit.

Again, your schedule and to-do lists are meant to help guide you and make your day flow smoothly. They are not a ball and chain that keep you tied to your office or computer. If you’re treating them like that, step back, get curious and ask yourself why.

When was the last time you said yes to an impromptu visit? Leave a comment to let me know!

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