Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I am swamped. Warehouse move, Guelph office move, travel and board meetings. I feel I am needed in too many places.

A friend of mine sent me a link to an interesting time management site called pmarca.

It had a thought provoking post about not having any schedule. Of course with the scheduled life I lead, this is a challenging thought. And there is even a disclaimer in the article that if you are a CEO it will be tough to pull off.

This is a section from the post:

"Let's start with a bang: don't keep a schedule.

He's crazy, you say!

I'm totally serious. If you pull it off -- and in many structured jobs, you simply can't -- this simple tip alone can make a huge difference in productivity.

By not keeping a schedule, I mean: refuse to commit to meetings, appointments, or activities at any set time in any future day.

As a result, you can always work on whatever is most important or most interesting, at any time.

Want to spend all day writing a research report? Do it!

Want to spend all day coding? Do it!

Want to spend all day at the cafe down the street reading a book on personal productivity? Do it!

When someone emails or calls to say, "Let's meet on Tuesday at 3", the appropriate response is: "I'm not keeping a schedule for 2007, so I can't commit to that, but give me a call on Tuesday at 2:45 and if I'm available, I'll meet with you."

Or, if it's important, say, "You know what, let's meet right now."

Clearly this only works if you can get away with it. If you have a structured job, a structured job environment, or you're a CEO, it will be hard to pull off."

5 Comments:

At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Ian McKenzie said...

pmarca is Marc Andreessen's blog. If anyone has the flexibility to give up a schedule, I'm sure he's the guy. That being said, I work for a major non-profit and we have considerable flexibility with schedules. Even our fixed weekly meetings can end up floating a day in either direction to accommodate changes. 90% percent of my meetings are held within a couple or so hours of a contact requesting the meeting. It works reasonably well.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Bob said...

Gee, I was going to ask if ANYONE could ever live with this schedule, but Ian's comment proves the exception to the rule. This sounds like a great way to do things, but it also requires a great deal of self-management to pull it off; something not in great supply in most people...

Besides, isn't this just too much of "going the other way"? My goal would be to find the balance. Actually, it sounds like Ian is once again a great example.

Way to go, Ian!

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Jim S said...

I'm having a hard time relating to this one!! I can't imagine maximizing productivity without a schedule. A schedule is one of many great methods for creating accountability for yourself and others. That being said leaving pockets of time in your schedule for ad hoc meetings, tasks or dealing with individuals who don't keep schedules may be a good comprimise. Its thought provoking but I only spent a few minutes thinking of it...my schedule didn't allow for any extra time to spend on it 8-)

 
At 1:00 AM, Anonymous S Woodside said...

It seems to me that if you want to meet with other people who aren't in your office, you need to have a series of agreements with people about where and when you will meet.

 
At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“As a professional organizer, I cannot recommend to anyone this no-schedule, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, flexibility. On paper, it may sound great, but in reality, if it’s not in your calendar, it’s not likely to get done. If you want or need flexibility, build it into your calendar scheduling. I.e. plan only 50% of your time to committed activities, leave the rest free. Oh yes, and don't forget that you can, and should, say NO.”

Alex Revai

http://www.productivity-solutions.com/

 

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