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Hate Meetings?

If you're a programmer, designer, product person, content writer, or any kind of creative workmaker, you probably have (at least) one good reason – your managers.

Robert Priscu

Specifically, your managers' schedule. There are solutions to this, but let's start with awareness. The executive schedule is designed for... Administrators. All diaries are structured in the same way: each day is divided into one-hour slots. You can block multiple hours for a single task if necessary, but by default managers change what they do every hour. It's easy and natural for managers to use their time this way. Want to meet with someone? No problem, find a vacant slot on the schedule, invite someone and that's it. Managers follow such schedules naturally. Usually towards the hour, they will ask themselves, "What do I have in the next hour?" and glance at their mobile or computer screen to see what is happening in the next slot. But people who make things programmers, designers and the like look at the schedule differently. They usually prefer to use the time in units of at least half a day. You can't write, design or program well in one-hour units. That's barely enough time to start. For productive people, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can "end" an entire afternoon by breaking it down into two parts, each too small to do anything challenging. In addition, you have to remember to go to a meeting. For someone who doesn't look at the clock in every round because it's now in the zone, that's a real annoyance. In addition, sometimes there is a cascading effect. If a programmer knows that the afternoon will fall apart, he has a little less chance of starting something ambitious in the morning. It may sound too sensitive, but if you need to create something challenging from scratch, don't you dream of a full day free for work, with no meetings at all? If so, it means you'll be upset accordingly when you're not. And ambitious projects are by definition close to our limits. A small drop in morale is enough to kill them (or at least postpone them until tomorrow). Each type of schedule works fine on its own. Problems arise when they meet. Since most powerful people in an organization follow a manager's schedule, they can easily crush the efficiency of the entire organization. A culture of effective killer meetings. Shopify, for example, canceled 322,000 hours of meetings a few months ago! Managers can show more restraint if they are more aware that some of the people who work for them need long chunks of time to work in. The layer most affected by the clash of worlds are the middle managers – they have to live on both schedules. If the pain sounds familiar, here are some tips that I found useful:

  1. Close your work windows and train the people who report to you and those to whom you report that work time is "sacred" - do not schedule appointments except in exceptional cases. A disabling glitch in production, no less. 2. Alternatively, schedule meetings with managers and employees. If you're a morning type, make sure you're open for meetings *only* from three o'clock until the end of the day. That's how you'll divide your day - in the morning manufacturers, in the afternoon managers.
  2. If you're a hybrid worker, try to leave your work-from-home days appointment-free. In any case, face-to-face meetings are more effective, so try to clean up the days you're at home to spend maximum time in the zone.
  3. Set overlapping team work hours if possible. If the Daily is at the beginning of the day for one of the team members and in the middle of the day after, it means that one will be effective and the other less effective. Credit: The main inspiration for the post came from Paul Graham, Paul was one of the founders of Y Combinator who wrote about it on his blog back in June 2009.