Don’t be a Calendar Victim

While there are many aspect of our schedules that we can’t control, such as bosses or peers scheduling various meetings or setting certain expectations, there people often have more influence over their schedule than they use.

Step back and think about your schedule (in the context of work or personal life) and routines — what is frustrating? What could you change? Or maybe request some revisions?

I’m a big fan of Cal Newport’s writing about “deep work“, the concept of carving out big blocks of time for the really important, creative work in life. You see this concept across many successful people. I was recently listening to Tim Ferris interview Jim Collins, and Jim talked about tracking the number of creative hours he invests every year, with a goal of 1,000+ creative hours every year. Or Paul Graham’s great essay Maker’s Schedule.

The key here is to think about how can you arrange your schedule, with whatever autonomy you have, to maximize big blocks of time for deep work, while using the small chunks of time (10 minutes here, 20 minutes there) to work on administrative/tactical work that needs to get done (e.g. check email).

Then, be very intentional with how you invest those big time blocks.

At the big picture level, you may want to consider something like this one year poster that Jon Acuff swears by, to really zoom out and think about your big-picture goals for the year.

You could use a system like Time Block Planning to carve out priorities at the weekly and daily level, so you’re not just reacting to whatever is at the top of your email.

You may even want to share your recurring meeting rhythm/cadence with people you closely collaborate with, trying to get alignment, so you and they can reduce your calendar fragmentation.

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