Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don't Just Book Meetings

One of the biggest time management mistakes you can make is to turn your calendar into a simple list of meetings. By not listing the important non-meeting work, you relegate such actions to a secondary status. By not having categories to trigger your memory and to assist in setting priorities, you facilitate drift.

There are plenty of great time management systems out there, such as those by David Allen and Franklin-Covey. Here's a very simple one: Review the actions that you plan to take this week. Put them in key categories such as David Maister's Minding, Finding, Grinding or a more detailed list of your own design. [My own system includes Projects, Marketing, Maintenance, Writing, Exercise, Personal, and Comments.]

Have one page per day so you aren't forced to scribble details in a small space. [Fancy pages are not necessary. Print your own forms on your computer if need be and keep them in a notebook.]

Underline the actions that are tied to a major goal. Don't con yourself and pretend that minor actions are significant. Don't get distracted by treating everything the same.

Make sure that you have enough goal-related actions so completing them by the end of the week will have produced serious progress.

Don't just book meetings.


CincyCat said...

When I was an administrative assistant (many moons ago), I used to regularly block "work" time on my GM's calendar so he could actually get something done during the course of a week.

If there was ANY free time on his calendar, someone would invariably try to schedule it. (Some days, he had a hard time trying to eat or take care of other "calls of nature".) Thankfully for him, I was also gatekeeper for his calendar, and used the "decline" and "propose another day" buttons as liberally as I deemed necessary. He was very happy with this arrangement.

Michael Wade said...


I bet he was happy. Every executive needs a gatekeeper. Too many of them believe that "open door" means being open to constant interruption.