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When is scheduling that after hour appointment important?

January 15, 2021

When has this happened to you? A client asks to meet at 6pm because the rest of the day is occupied with other meetings. The natural response is sure because we wish to accommodate and show we are flexible. We can buy almost anything with a click of a button and expect it to arrive in a day without additional shipping charges. If we don’t like it, then return it and be irritated there is a shipping or restocking fee. We are expecting companies and services to meet our needs and schedule. When is this right for us and right for our clients?

Lets start with the client. The client in this scenario works for a midsized company. They have been there over 10 years. In this period of time they have been asked to do more with fewer people to share the task or responsibility. Resources are provided in the form of equipment and systems. Their peers are no longer on the other side of the cubicle wall but on the other side of the world in India, on a different time schedule. Squeezing a 60 to 90 minute appointment in the middle of the day when it’s the only time you have live access to your colleagues in India becomes difficult. Oh, we are also talking about the appointment being for a massage. Needed to relieve stress or the impact stress is having on the body. Scheduling in the middle of the day adds its own stress and of course we don’t want to miss deliverables at work.

In the case of my colleague, business in the massage industry is down because of the need for social distancing. Without a sufficient number of clients the fixed costs for renting the room will not be met. To accommodate a 6pm appointment there are the following impacts. The appointment is 60 to 90 minutes plus another 20 to 30 minutes to close up, followed by a half hour drive to and from home. Dinner will either be before the meeting or could be as late as 10pm. This will also push bed time. This colleague begins his day at 5:30 to meet his first client at 8am.

This example is of a client in need of massage therapy to relieve stress and a therapist in need of clients. As with most decisions in life, ideal conditions do not exist. What is the “right” decision for the client and the provider? For simplicity sake I will suggest there are three possible outcomes: 1. Appointment is set for 6pm, 2. Appointment is set for during the therapist’s regular schedule, 3. Client seeks another therapist.

Because the three possibilities do not represent a combination in which ideal circumstances exist simultaneously for both parties, how should I decide what is right for me? My encouragement for us all is to develop a connection to our own internal compass for these situations. Our bodies can provide additional information relative to the choices presented. The opportunity is to be able to distinguish the choices relative to their benefit to me. Let me offer how this might work for my colleague.

How do I know the right choice?

His choice is 1. Accept the 6pm appointment which will disrupt his personal schedule, diminish his services to clients the next day and give him money toward fix costs. The alternative 2. Decline to meet with the client at 6pm offering an available slot during the day and risk the client going elsewhere for the service. It is possible the client accepts the alternative time. This would mean some impact on the benefits the client would experience and color their opinion of the therapist could get from the session because they are doing this during their business hours. Again, neither is ideal. The other point is the “right” decision today could be very different from the “right” decision tomorrow. Searching on Google for the right choice, asking a friend or colleague for their response, or looking up the answer in a book is not guaranteed to give you the “right” answer.

Our bodies can provide information as to which is the better choice for us now. Our bodies react to our thoughts and choices. We can feel when we feel the burden or the joy when facing a choice. In a negotiation, we may have to fight showing the glee when it is turning in our favor. The proverbial “poker face.” This is our body responding. Our minds work to mask this response. I am suggesting looking for this response. There are techniques to help you connect with your body and have this as a tool for your decision making.

Learning to notice and then trust your body’s input is instrumental in your learning how to build a life that you love. For the situation above, you or I could build a logical argument for scheduling the appointment or an equivalently strong argument for declining the 6pm appointment. What makes the difference is what my colleague’s body is saying. How and when do you listen to your body? Could this be the secret to your building the life that you love?