I’ve been away from my office desk for a few months now, but when I was bringing stuff home, I made sure take a snapshot of the sticky notes I refer to for daily insight and inspiration. This one reminds me daily about balancing my time.
Day in and day out I have a lot of meetings. On top of that, there are always one-off discussions I wind up having with people regarding projects, or processes, or teams. It can get exhausting very fast. The sticky note above (thanks to my Productivity Yoda) helps guide me through my day (and my week) in two important ways:
Left to the wide open ebb and flow of the day, I'd never get my individual work done. If there's an opening in my calendar, somebody will most likely send me an invite. To solve for that, I make time to get it done. Go ahead, make an appointment with yourself to work on that proposal, finish that small feature, or anything else you need to complete. I even block out the first hour of my week (Monday: 8-9) to look it over and do most of my "time making". Don't forget that you often need prep time or follow up time from big meetings, so make sure you have the space to do that.
Do you really need to be in that meeting? It may be worth reaching out to the organizer to check. Don't feel obligated to attend meetings marked as "optional" if you have other important things to do. Can you have a "working meeting" where you're available to answer a question, but are focusing on other things in the meantime. That is a very legitimate thing to do and if your colleagues know in advance, they'll typically be comfortable with it. The main point is to get you to focus your time on where it matters most. The overlapping meetings becomes a nightmare for your focus. The emails/slacks for another project while being engaged in the current project meeting can be disrespectful and fragmenting. By managing your time better, everybody wins.
Hay List / Day List
...oh yeah, that! That refers to some productive task hacking I've done in the past.
What tools or tricks are you using to help make and manage time? I’d love to know about them!