June 15

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Scheduling will make you more efficient

By Ralph Varcoe

June 15, 2020

productivity hacks

2.10   Control Your Schedule

Productivity hack no.26 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


In Section 2.1 we looked at the issue of people ‘diarrhoearising’ endless meetings that aren’t well structured or planned, and why you should avoid pointless meetings. We looked at how to make them more efficient in 2.2 with a new stand-up meeting regime.

This section is about being in control of your whole calendar, and everything that goes in it.

Most calendar Apps enable others to see when you have an appointment, or even the precise detail of each event. You usually have to allow specific access for others to have full visibility, or you can make the calendar public.

There’s a notion that in a collaborative team environment we must all share and be transparent with each other. We must be available and work in harmony. Enabling others to see your calendar is part of that open, trust environment that says we are one family, etcetera, etcetera….

Having your calendar visible to everyone is the best way to make sure people can legitimately fill it up with their stuff and say, “It showed you had a gap between meetings so I blocked your calendar then”. Great!! Just because you don’t have a specific meeting with someone does not mean you have nothing to do. You need space to actually do some work!

A close friend has had a couple of bosses who told him that he needed to make his calendar open to them and the rest of the team. There was no company policy that said he had to. He refused to do it on the grounds that his agenda was his business to manage in order that he efficiently drives to achieve the goals the business has set him. It was suggested he may not want to open it up because he had something to hide! He countered that the only reason this would be requested is if there was a lack of trust! Eventually he decided he didn’t want to work for a boss like that. I have sympathy with his approach. In all the teams I have ever managed I have NEVER asked or told them to make their calendar public to me. Some have done so because that was their choice but others never have and I have NEVER asked anyone to. I don’t need to delve into their calendars to know where they are or what they’re up to. I know this because I work closely with them on a daily basis.

It is about controlling your agenda based on the tasks you have to complete. It’s about scheduling in the time to complete these. That is like scheduling a meeting with yourself to undertake a piece of work that is on your important list.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you can’t be flexible and move stuff around when an important meeting needs to take precedence, or a team member needs some coaching, or your loved one needs to speak to you, but I am advocating taking control of your calendar and managing it to suit the things you want or need to achieve, be they work or personal objectives.

After all, you are an adult and should be trusted to manage your time appropriately to get done what needs to get done.

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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