If you spent winter curled up on the couch binge-watching TV, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Netflix’s “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” In the show, the domestic goddess of decluttering walks Americans through the process of embracing minimalism, and only keeping items that spark joy. While her method might seem like it’s best put to use at home closets and basements, the general principles can be applied to your work life, too, including schedules.

At Engageware, we spend a lot of time thinking about appointment scheduling and talking to organizations about how intelligent appointment scheduling impacts business, productivity, and customer relationships. Based on years of perfecting the art of the schedule, here’s how to apply the KonMari method to tidy up your appointments.

Set Aside Time to Clean Up Schedules

American workers spend about 20 percent of their workweek in meetings and a majority feel at least a quarter of those meeting hours are wasted (causing frustration, not joy). Make clearing schedule clutter a priority—don’t wait for spare time. Like Marie advises, “commit yourself to tidying up,” and set aside time on your calendar to go through existing appointments and make critical assessments. While Marie Kondo would ask if each personal item sparks joy, take time to decide if meetings on the calendar will bring positive outcomes to business results and customer initiatives.

Cancel Meetings That Are Out of date

Do you really need that recurring Tuesday morning meeting that was organized by a former manager and ends up being canceled most weeks, anyway? Look at the original invite to decide if the meeting addresses current needs and if the attendee list is still appropriate. If not, give employees their time back and cut the meeting waste. Even if meetings are relevant, take a fresh look at each one to determine the frequency needed and vital attendees, and make cuts wherever possible.

Visualize Meeting Success to Meet Objectives

Kondo advises those following her method to “imagine your ideal lifestyle” before setting out and making changes. Much like the technique of visualizing desired outcomes, those applying Kondo’s advice to work schedules should imagine the ideal outcome of each meeting to set yourself and attendees up for success.

Is the appointment meant to provide information to a prospect, or is it an internal team gathering to address an ongoing project? Ensure that each meeting satisfies two objectives:

  1. Will the meeting facilitate short-term goals? For example, will everyone walk away with clear to-do items or will a resolution be made?
  2. Does the meeting fit into part of a larger corporate or client strategy and are all the right stakeholders included?

Plan Future Meetings With an Agenda in Mind

Whether meetings are internal team affairs, appointments with prospects, or time with customers, make sure each appointment has an agenda, and be clear who is responsible for what. Participants will know what to expect and it will help ensure objectives are more easily met. To keep order in the meeting, send the agenda and any required paperwork or documents for review to participants ahead of time and ask everyone to come prepared to address important points.

Adopt Automation to Keep Schedules Tidy

Once you do the hard work of cleaning up the meeting mess, keep it organized going forward. Scheduling can take a lot longer than it should. It can sometimes take hours to coordinate schedules, ensure the right people attend, and that meetings happen at the right time of a project or customer journey to drive goals forward.

Intelligent appointment scheduling uses AI to understand when to reach out to a customer or prospect and matches their needs to the employee who has the best skillset and availability. Making connections at the right time with the right people dramatically decreases no-shows and increases engagement since parties arrive at the meeting with clear goals and all the necessary background information (thanks to the power of an intelligent platform).

Whether your workweek is full of too many meetings, or you aim to fill schedules with sales prospects, take time to evaluate the frequency and success of meetings and use the data to effect, real and long-term change for the positive. Learn more about how Intelligent Appointment Scheduling can help you spark meeting joy.

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