Schedule management is a key process in time management. While tasks are pertinent to an individual, meetings and appointments involve other people. This is why punctuality is valued—punctuality proves that one is reliable, responsible and values other peoples’ time.
Appointments go through four phases—creation, maintenance, encounter, and follow-up. Creation is based not only on availability, that is, whether we are available at a specific point in time, but also on relevance and convenience. Maintenance includes deleting the appointment (no longer relevant) and changing aspects of the appointment (who, where, and when). As an appointment is an agreement to come together, it must be treated as a contract and respected as such. Meetings also must be maintained as appropriate.
While appointments are run according to the whim of the more powerful party in the gathering, meetings must be run according to an agenda, that is, a list of items to be discussed at the meeting. The agenda also determines who should be invited based on relevance and who can contribute to the discussion about the items on the agenda.
The agenda should also be used as a guideline for the invitees to use to accept or reject the invitation. The items on the agenda must be introduced, discussed, resolved, or assigned to individuals for resolution. When assigned, there must be a definite time limit set so to ensure that the task gets completed.
Meeting minutes are used to record the proceedings of meetings. They are used to keep track of attendees, agenda, resolution, or assignment and deadlines. Meeting minutes can be quickly created by the use of a template.
The topic on schedule management has many concepts to explore and discuss further with your team:
- The first point is the value of punctuality. It is important to recognize how valuable time is to other people. It is one thing to waste one’s own time; wasting other people’s time indicates a callous and selfish attitude.
- The second point is the distinction between appointments and meetings. While this may feel like semantics, it is important to create a common set of terms in order to have common processes and expectation. Appointments and meetings share common attributes and differ in composition, purpose, and the way in which they are managed.
- The third concept is the use of paper or electronic schedule management tools. Meetings and appointments must be tracked on some kind of calendar management tool in order to find available time and to avoid clashes, that is, to avoid scheduling two events at the same time.
- The fourth concept is the management of appointments. The four phases—creation, maintenance, encounter, and follow-up—are a useful breakdown to control appointments.
- The last concept is the management of meetings. For this, we usually have two tools, agendas, and meeting minutes. However, they can be combined into a single tool if that´s more useful.
Think about how your meetings have been run in the past? What can you and your team do to manage your meetings better?