Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

I absolutely loved this article by Paul Graham called Makers Schedule, Managers Schedule.  It basically describes the cadence difference between people who are in meetings most of the day and people who have deliverables like designers or programmers.  I drew charts to illustrate:

Notice that the manager has meetings all day in one-hour chunks.  For them, the key is to find an open hour to meet with people.  However, the maker really needs larger chunks of time to get things done.  You need 3+ hours to really make progress.  Let’s look at the actual schedule:

Notice that the meeting at 3:00 basically split the afternoon into two smaller pieces.  Now the maker doesn’t have the uninterrupted time they need to get things done.  There is a serious price to pay for context switching when you are making stuff that requires concentration.  Speaking for myself, when this happens, I get alot less accomplished in the afternoon than the 1 hour meeting would assume.

This was a brilliant concept that I wish I could take credit for.  In my office, I try to shield the junior designers from being in too many meetings.  I go to the meetings for them so they don’t have to.  That way, they can maximize the amount of work they do.  I’d love to have fewer meetings, but this seems to be a harder problem.

What cadence do you prefer?  Is it the same as the people you invite?

4 Replies to “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”

  1. I am in meetings all the time and am in the position where I have to be flexible and make myself available when the other person/group is free. Although this is necessary, it often makes it impossible to sit down and get things done (especially things that aren’t necessary for that day, but are still very important). What I have tried to do, is never schedule a meeting on Mondays or Fridays, so I have those huge chucks of time and the beginning and end of the week. I’d rather 2 great days and 3 yucky days, than 5 average days.

  2. Inspired by that article, I booked a 3.5 hour meeting recurring every afternoon so I can have uninterrupted focus time. It’s made a huge difference.

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