How Do You Manage Cancellations?


My client cancelled this morning. Illness at home. It happens to everyone and at this time of year cancellations are expected once in a while. What do you do with your time when “Plan A” changes at the last-minute? Do you use it for good? Do you have a “Plan B”?

It’s so easy to sit down on the sofa and turn on the TV or open Facebook, but at the end of the day, will you have accomplished anything? Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs a free day once in a while, but why not look at your change of plans as an opportunity to accomplish something on your “someday” list.

I keep a list of business ideas in my office. Ideas for future projects and research I’d like to do. I also have a similar list for my personal life. This is a list of projects I’d like to do around my house or places I’d like to go. When I find myself with a few suddenly free hours I pick a project and get going. I challenge myself by setting a goal of how far I can move forward on one of these projects in the time I have.

Today, since the weather is a little nasty outside, I’m closing my office door and concentrating on my most pressing project, something that will make a big difference to my business. A few hours of concentrated effort will get me one or two (or three) steps closer to a final product.

Cancellations happen for all types of business. Read more tips on how to manage them from

What do you do to manage your cancellations? What would you work on today, if you had the time, that would move you forward to the life you want?

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. April on February 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    That is such a good idea! I don’t generally have client meetings, but I do end up with days where my work time gets all re-arranged … mostly from weather. I need to set some time aside to update my “Do Someday” list!

    • Basic Organization on February 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      April, working on your “Do Someday” list will move DREAMS to TO-DOs to DONE! I’m working on my web site this morning, then drafting new program for my preferred clients. Lots to do! Thanks for responding.

  2. Juli Monroe ( on February 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I had a client cancel on me yesterday, and I used the time to finally finish the edits to my next book. I really needed the time to finish that!

  3. Basic Organization on February 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I love unexpected free time. I got so much done this morning. Good luck with the next book Juli.

  4. Janet Barclay on November 2, 2020 at 6:45 am

    I love unexpected free time too! I don’t usually have too look too far to find something to work on.

  5. Seana Turner on November 2, 2020 at 8:43 am

    I made a decision early on my business not to charge people for cancellations (unless it became an ongoing problem). I know how hard it is to wake up to an illness, lack of power, unexpected issues, etc. I want to be working with me to be a joy and not a source of stress. We reschedule.

    As for my time, I look at cancellations as God’s redirecting my plans. Like you, I always have a list of business tasks. Usually I take advantage of the free time to run a few errands or tackle an item from the list. Every now and then, I throw the list out the window and bake a pie:)

    • Janet Schiesl on November 2, 2020 at 10:26 am

      I love your take on cancellation. It always good to have a list of possible projects, but it’s not always necessary to do them. Relaxing or cooking are good choices.

  6. Sabrina Quairoli on November 2, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    I love unexpected free time too! I have a list of smaller projects that I can add when I have some extra time. I also like to take some time for a walk or shop at a store I haven’t been to in a while for half an hour or so. This calms my mind and inspires me to get motivated again to write or do a project.

    • Janet Schiesl on November 2, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      It sounds like you and many other commentors mindfully decide to take the time to do something fun.

  7. Linda Samuels on November 2, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    It’s a funny juxtaposition. On the one hand, I love having a schedule, knowing when my client sessions, meetings, calls, or other appointments are given day. Those anchors or time slots that are blocked out help me organize the other daily goals and tasks. But as we know, life happens, and appointments get canceled. A client’s kid gets sick, or there is an emergency. Rescheduling is inevitable. We’re human. So I approach those cancellations as gifts. I don’t have an ongoing list of things to do specific to cancellations. Instead, I check in with myself to see what I need at that moment. I might take a walk, call a friend or family member, enjoy a leisurely cup of tea, move a project along, or do nothing.

    • Janet Schiesl on November 2, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      You could always organize your own home with the free time! I agree that taking a mini-vacation for the day it great.

  8. Melanie on November 2, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    This is a GREAT idea. I have tons of “someday” projects but I’ve never compiled them into one list for a rainy day. I’m going to make one this week.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Diane N Quintana on November 3, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Like you, I have a list of things to accomplish. I love separating them into personal and business objectives. That way when unexpected free time drops in my lap I can make a choice – is it a business day or a personal day. Great post, Janet.

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