I recently read Mike Monteiro‘s piece on scheduling work time in your calendar. It really resonated with me because I started applying a similar strategy about a year ago and the results so far have been great.
I used to only include meetings in my calendar. I soon found out that I was inundated with 4 to 6 meetings each day. This left me with little time to prepare for the meetings and to do the follow up work necessary after the meeting was completed. I was getting many meetings done, but I wasn’t getting much work done.
I then changed my approach to include not only meetings but also spans of time that I dedicate to performing specific pieces of work in my calendar. For example, if I need to research a particular market, I include the number of hours I think I’ll need to do that for in my calendar. If I need to review a term sheet for one of our companies, I include my best estimate of the time that that will take in my calendar. If I need to write an introductory email to help one of our companies pitch their next round to potential investors, I schedule time for that in my calendar.
Scheduling work time in my calendar forces me to dedicate the time necessary to do the work properly rather than to rush through it. As a result I not only get a greater quantity of work done, but the output of my work is also of higher quality.
I also take less meetings each day. For example I’ve taken between 2 and 3 meetings per day during the last week. The lower capacity of meetings that I allow myself to take makes me more selective in accepting meeting requests, and a better contributor in each meeting.
This approach might not work for someone who performs best in the absence of structure. Some people work better in environments where they continually prioritize what they do on a real-time basis. This isn’t me.
If you’re like me and use your calendar as a tool to structure and prioritize what you need to do, scheduling work time could make you much more productive.
Also published on Medium.