Scheduled for someday

How structured does your workday really need to be? What about your team’s? Where does the line run between scheduling out your days, weeks and years in an effort to maximize productivity versus allowing time for creativity and serendipity, to allow the most important items at that moment to float to the top?

Be in charge or go with the flow?

 

Many say that your day shouldn’t happen to you, you should happen to your day. That you need to manage your time with serious intention. Perhaps just as many say that it’s worthless to schedule our your days, let alone weeks and years, because you have no idea what will be important even 24 hours from now.

 

Fighters are plentiful in both corners of that argument. I stand somewhere in the middle, but leaning slightly more towards the crowd with their calendars in their hands. It hasn’t always been that way, which probably explains why I’m in the middle. Until recently, I didn’t use a calendar for much more than to occasionally keep track of what day of the week was currently underway. However, growth in responsibly and team size has shown me the importance of a schedule. As a team grows, communication suffers and so does performance unless an intentional effort is made to stay on top of the latest issues. This is especially true for projects, and project teams. It’s been my experience that, for example, regularly scheduled, productive meetings (down with unproductive meetings!) go a long way towards stamping out small fires before they burn down forests, they help bring new ideas to the table and solve problems quicker, and they help keep teams pulling as one and in the proper direction.

 

My calendar

 

The items on my calendar do not have detailed agendas attached a month in advance; experience has simply taught me that there will be issues that come up that need to be dealt with, whether it concerns a team member, an entire team or a project, so I might as well make room in advance for discussion and decision-making. And hey, if it turns out that something on the schedule isn’t actually necessary just then, then just delete it and move on.

I believe that the items which are scheduled regularly on your calendar should be a reflection of what is most important to you. I prioritize my responsibilities and roll with my schedule – and if needed, make adjustments as things evolve.

By the way, here’s a point that can use some emphasis: A schedule can and will be modified; it’s there to serve you, not enslave you.

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