I remember when I first started working as a therapist. When a client did not show up for their scheduled appointment, I would take it personally and wonder what I had done "wrong". Now, when a client doesn't come to their appointment I treat the time like a gift!
There are so many things that you can do during a "no show" time slot:
1. Arrange to have the client contacted to reschedule. Sometimes they forget, get lost or have an emergency that prevents them from attending. If you ignore them, they might be too embarrassed to ask for another appointment but if you make a kind attempt to follow up with them, they will be grateful that you did and this builds the relationship for the future.
2. Complete paperwork or reports. You might be able to leave early if you use the time that you have wisely. It is quite amazing how quickly you can do what might seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you have a deadline like knowing your next client will be there in an hour.
3. Read a magazine or article that you have been hoping to review. All of us receive a great deal of materials that do not receive top priority in the day but are helpful for our practices.
4. Write an article or prepare a handout for your clients. Think of concepts or procedures that you repeatedly share with others. If these things are important enough to repeat, you will likely add value to your business by writing them down so that you can submit to newspapers, hand to other clients or feature on a website.
5. Consider your professional development plan for the year. What areas do you want to strengthen or knowledge that you want to gain. Think about how you can improve a specific skill that you have or acquire one that you would like.
6. Order office supplies. Check to see if you have enough paper, ink cartridges, file folders or other necessary items and then place an order so that they can be delivered.
7. Contact another professional with who you would like to network. Often busy people are open to setting a lunch or coffee date with another interesting business person.
8. Walk through your office area with objectivity, looking for specific things that could be sorted, straightened or cleaned. When you are busy with clients you might not notice things in your environment so you will need to view the office with "new eyes".
9. Review your financial records. Look at the Balance Sheet, Sales records, and accounts receivables for the month and year. This is a good time to contact companies who owe you money and arrange payment of their accounts. You can also review or pay your own bills at this time.
10. Practice self-care. Have a break, enjoy a bottle of water, go to the bathroom, lie down for a few minutes.