If you’re feeling overwhelmed, block off time in your day for flexible, unscheduled activities. You read that correctly: create chunks of time that won’t be disturbed by clients or colleagues so you can focus on your tasks or education.
I don’t know how I feel about this article. I think it goes against much of what’s represented by ROWE, and just generally feels a little infantile - my calendar is my own to manage, and if I’m not able to come to your meeting then I’ll have to decline your request or suggest an alternative time.
That said, I do find myself doing this more and more often. There’s an assumption that if outlook shows me as having some time available then that time is up for grabs for whomever gets to it first.
I work hard to keep my calendar pretty flexible, but I certainly find that the weeks where it fills up are the weeks where I accomplish the least, and instead I find myself in meetings talking about what I’m going to do the following week, or the week after that. I don’t have the capacity to do something productive any sooner than that because I have other meetings to go to in which I’ll also talk about why it’s going to be several weeks until I can do some actual work.
Part of the problem is that I don’t think I perform especially well in “meetings.” I’ve never had a great idea in a meeting - those always come to me when I’m driving home afterwards, or when I’m in the shower, or another time when my mind is free to wander.
Nevertheless, I don’t think blocking off chunks of time in my calendar is the solution. That would just make it more difficult for me to get time with people when I need their input, and for people to get time with me when they need mine.
So what is the solution? Is the system broken here, or am I doing something wrong? Let me know your thoughts!