Don’t Overschedule Yourself

I read an article the other week in “Inc.” magazine about “8 Tips on How to be a More Successful CEO” and one of the tips really resonated with me.

Jason Fried, co-founder of 37 Signals, a collaboration-software company in Chicago, says he rarely has meetings.

I looked at my calendar for this week and it’s about the only thing I have, leaving me with little “free” time. That’s free time to think, to strategize, to plan.

I’m basically running from back-to-back meetings. Granted, this week is a bit of an exception because we’re interviewing to fill a vacancy, but still.

The small chunks of time I do have won’t allow me to “get in the zone” to create a presentation I’m giving next week. The time slots won’t let me begin planning for the next fiscal year and, yet, I’ll be submitting my budget next week. About the only thing those chunks of time are good for is checking emails, which is not a productive use of my day.

As I said, this week is the exception with all the meetings, but I do have to remind myself to not let this happen again anytime soon. As one colleague said to me recently, “Who owns your calendar?”

Plain and simple – it’s me. So how can I own my calendar?

1)      I don’t accept all meeting requests. Many of them I delegate to another member of my team.

2)      I propose an alternate meeting time that suits my schedule better.

3)      I build in time after each meeting so that I can write up notes or follow-up on action items, rather than allowing everything to fall onto a “To Do” list.

What are you doing to own your calendar?