The electronic calendar has become one of our main tools in our work. Calls with the team, project statuses, meetings with partners – we record all events and tasks in it. Until recently, finding a free “window” in the schedule was like a real challenge: we could discuss for hours who, when, and what time it was convenient to hold a meeting, but we never agreed. Thanks to the advent of scheduling services like Calendly or Meetingbird, we were able to optimize this process.
The essence of their work is quite simple: they integrate with the calendar and form a link with information about free “windows”, which the user can send to the interlocutor to choose a convenient time for a meeting. On the one hand, we have learned to masterfully manage a business schedule, on the other hand, work tasks continue to outweigh personal ones, like going to the gym, learning a new betting strategy for your favorite sports on 20Bet, or taking a foreign language course.
Personal Scheduling System
Much of the business literature tells us how not to forget anything, to plan everything, and to highlight the most important things on the list of tasks. But it’s just as important to determine what you won’t do. At all. Strategic choices are not a long list of tasks, some of which we take as a priority and leave others for later. The important thing is to have time to do the most important things, not all of them.
The fact is that each of us has a limit to our productivity, which on average is 3-4 hours a day. Throughout the day we experience fluctuations in energy – up, down, and up again. These fluctuations are related to biorhythms and peak productivity. Most often it is morning from 9 to 12 am and evening from 5 to 8 pm. In this connection, important negotiations, preparation of presentations, brainstorming and strategic sessions is better to put them in the morning hours. After lunch, the body feels sleepy for 1-2 hours, so devote this time to tasks that do not require high concentration.
Template Scheduling: Implement Recurring Events Instead of One-offs
It seems that the main secret to scheduling is predictability. The art of small steps for continuous progress toward a goal requires discipline. Sometimes our brains spend more resources on the decision than on the action itself. That’s why it’s great to decide once and then not hesitate to do it. For example, the American billionaire founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, devotes every day of the week to working on a particular task topic. His schedule looks as follows:
- Monday – management and administration.
- Tuesday – product.
- Wednesday – marketing and communications.
- Thursday – communications with partners.
- Friday – culture and recruitment.
Allocate a Four-hour Strategy Slot
Venture business guru Paul Graham often tells us that he uses two modes in his work – “creator” mode and “manager” mode. The latter involves the operational tasks that take up most of the time of most entrepreneurs and top managers. They are like the many-armed god Shiva, trying to solve several problems at once: which candidates to hire, which channel is best to promote a new product, how to increase sales, and much more. It’s okay when it’s important to keep track of everything at once. In “creator” mode, you have to set aside the daily grind to think about strategic issues without distractions.
It takes us 25 minutes to concentrate. For example, you are putting together slides for an investment presentation, but you are distracted for literally five minutes to respond to a message on a messenger. As a result, five minutes turns into half an hour. After all, it takes much longer for your brain to get into the same rhythm than it seems.
Working in “creator” mode is possible. To do this, you need to implement four-hour “strategy slots” into your weekly calendar. At least once a week and preferably at your peak productivity. Do not plan meetings and calls in this interval, otherwise your day can turn into a “slicing” of endless talks. It’s like a packed day, but you have no time to work.
This is your sacred time, when you can take one major task and concentrate on your work.
Dedicate Time to Personal Rituals
Reserve one hour in your schedule for daily rituals, like reading a book or meditating. Until a year ago, I wasn’t able to do this in a systematic way. It looked like this: oh, I have 15 minutes to read today. I was able to incorporate healthy habits into my life when I started booking time for them in my schedule. You can definitely make it to the gym if you fix your workout time in your calendar. Set aside one hour to drive, one hour to work out, and 30 minutes to shower. Be open-minded and ask your coworkers not to put work meetings on that time.
A thoughtful personal schedule gives you not only a sense of control over your life, but also a sense of freedom. When you’ve thought about the key events of the week and reserved your time and attention for them, you have the opportunity to live life more qualitatively in the moment. Here and now to savor every minute.