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PRODUCT.|PHILOSOPHY.|LIFE.

Breaking into my calendar

Breaking into my calendar is hard work.

A few weeks ago, I started to merge all the things I need to do into one single calendar. I already used to do that on a Google Sheet and have been following that for many years now. But recently, I started transferring that to my work calendar. This is because my work calendar is what my colleagues see if they are trying to set up a meeting with me and not my personal Google Sheet.

If I had some work planned for certain hours, my work calendar would still show that slot empty and then someone would think I'm free at that time and set up a meeting.

This is a behaviour we encourage at corporates through open calendars where everyone can see and claim time on the calendars of others. If there isn't a meeting scheduled for someone at a time, then whatever they are doing at that time can be dropped in favour of the meeting that someone now sets up in that slot.

I found that this was eating into my planned hours a lot and I had to shuffle and reschedule time for what I originally wanted to get done at that time. And if this happens enough times, then the whole exercise of planning is rendered useless and I'd be a headless chicken running from one meeting to the next.

So, I shifted my entire plan to my work calendar. Now, when someone sees my calendar at the start of the week, pretty much every slot looks busy.

This has resulted in a few things, all of which are favourable.

First, people don't invite me to as many meetings as they did before. Instead, they send me an email or a Slack, which I can respond to at my own scheduled time and save on unnecessary meetings.

Second, when a meeting is inevitable (and sometimes they are), people reach out to me and ask me if I can reschedule whatever else I have to a different time. This makes it an easy evaluation for me. If I think the meeting is important and one where my contribution would be critical, I'll readily reschedule what I had planned and accommodate it. But, only about ten percent of meetings have been falling under this category. The rest, I've been able to cut down.

Third, things that aren't really urgent get postponed. Before I started doing this, the availability of a meeting slot on the same day or the next day would allow an out for people who would simply schedule a slot and escalate the urgency when it isn't merited. With a full calendar, when urgency isn't merited, it simply gets postponed or is written down as an email. Thus, it acts as a good filter for ensuring quality meetings.

I've started to make it hard to break into my calendar. And I haven't yet seen any downsides, while there have been a few plusses.

I think I'll keep this going until I see reason to stop.

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