stop-burnout Defensive scheduling

Sometimes, you need to stop the distractions and schedule time for yourself.

We only have so much time during the week to get our work done. Sometimes, we get pulled in different directions, often involving meetings. Defensive scheduling can be an important addition to any busy manager’s “tool kit” in managing and scheduling time. Simply block out time on the calendar that is better spent working on projects, so others don’t try to schedule meetings during this rare productive time.

For example, I like to leave time on my calendar for strategic thinking. This allows me a specific block of time when I won’t be interrupted, and when I can “get out on the balcony” to think about what’s coming up for our organization. Or when I’m crunched for time to get a particular project finished, I will book time on my calendar to be in my office, working on documentation.

Similarly, it is equally important to protect other time, such as travel time. If meetings are in another building, it becomes even more important to schedule time appropriately.

For example, say a manager has been invited to a meeting from 10:00 to 11:00. It would be unrealistic for someone to schedule another meeting in another building immediately at 11:00. In these cases, I use defensive scheduling, and add thirty minutes on either side of the meeting to leave sufficient time for travel.

Use defensive calendaring in other ways, too. I might use defensive calendaring for mundane items, too. On my schedule, I’ve conveniently scheduled a block of time from noon to 1:00 so I can have an uninterrupted lunch break. I may schedule other blocks of time for dedicated strategic thinking.

So go ahead and reserve some time on your calendar for yourself. Leave yourself that extra time to do strategic thinking, get work done, or just to travel to your next meeting.