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Maker vs manager: How to connect your schedule to your goals

https://blog.rescuetime.com/maker-vs-manager/

blog.rescuetime.com

Maker vs manager: How to connect your schedule to your goals
Both makers and managers need time to focus on deep work. And this requires getting strategic with how you spend your time each day, week, and month.

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Fighting For Our Focus

Fighting For Our Focus

Scheduling of work falls into two broad categories: Makers and Managers. Most of us are either managing people and projects or making something, like documents, apps or other creative things that require sustained focus.

Our attempt to balance our managing time with our making time is the fight for our focus, and creates the core problem that overwhelms most of us.

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Different Jobs See Time Differently

  • Managers can work in time blocks of 30 or 60 minutes, scheduling meetings or sending emails.
  • Makers need almost half a day to get down and create something, requiring an uninterrupted focus mode that is nearly impossible.

What complicates matters is that many managers who are managing the makers think of time as short blocks and try to break the focused time of the makers, requesting them to juggle work or multitask, which kills any productivity or quality with the unending context switching.

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Schedules And Productivity

None of us can get creative in short 15-minute bursts of work sandwiched between a mandatory meeting and a sales team call. It is also a myth that people work for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Most people are productive in sporadic periods of time, like 15 minutes, followed by an interruption, then for 20 minutes, followed by a commitment/obligation/meeting and so on.

We need to align our schedules with our goals and create a strategy that helps us focus on deep work.

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Splitting Weekdays As A Manager And A Maker

A way to organize our schedule is to split the days in our week into two categories, marking our calendar as:

  1. Manager Days: Only focusing on pairing, syncing, answering, meeting and doing managing and follow up work.
  2. Maker Days: Only focusing on deep work, without interruption, meetings or any other activity that shifts the mind.

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Benefits Of Week Splitting

  • If splitting of weekdays between managing and making is strictly followed, it makes our day focus clear and we can happily ignore emails and other stuff on our ‘maker’ days.
  • Others have clear expectations and the seemingly urgent requests can easily be filtered out.
  • If you are not always available, it can also facilitate other solutions.

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Splitting Days: The Alternative For The Rest Of Us

  • Not everyone can commit full days of deep focus work, or even manage the whole day.
  • We can refer to our body clocks, energy levels and working style to create a day calendar splitting blocks of hours in a way that we have half a day, or about three to four hours of focus time, while the rest of the day can be for other activities.
  • One can get into a state of flow every day and still have scheduled office hours to work on meetings, emails and other stuff.

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Switching Between Maker And Manager Schedules

The real problem according to experts, is making the switch between managing and making, due to the fact that our brain does not immediately obey us and is stuck on the work that was happening earlier, something known as attention residue.

We can take the help of certain rituals and routines that can help us switch between the two modes, like taking a walk, a few minutes of deep breathing, a short burst of exercise or even a slow cup of coffee.

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Mastering The Maker And Manager Schedule

  1. Use a time-tracking app and review the kind of activities that are done during the day and how much time the activities take.
  2. Categorize those activities as ‘maker’ or ‘manager’.
  3. Find the daily patterns and use that information to schedule your ‘maker time’.
  4. Keep an eye on the stuff that interrupts you the most and try to eliminate or minimize the same.
  5. Take a review at the end of each week to make some tweaks in your schedule.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Switching between tasks

Most of us spend our days jumping between tasks and tools.

In fact, most people average only 3 minutes on any given task before switching to something else (and only 2 minutes on a di...

Task switching and focus

Taking on additional tasks simultaneously can destroy up to 80% of your productive time:

  • Focusing on one task at a time = 100% of your productive time available.
  • Juggling two tasks at a time = 40% of your productive time for each and 20% lost to context switching.
  • Juggling three tasks at a time = 20% of your productive time for each and 40% lost to context switching.

A schedule for sustained attention

It includes:
  • Large chunks of focused “flow” time for more demanding projects.
  • “Themed” days to reduce the need to recalibrate between different tasks.
  • Advanced planning so you can prioritize meaningful work.
  • Realistic time set aside for admin, communication, and meetings.
  • Clear expectations for your teammates so they know when not to interrupt you.

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The urgency bias

The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.

Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

Time blocking

Time blocking

It's the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities.

When you fill your c...

Time blocking and focus

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Also, focusing on one task at a time can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks.

Cons of the time blocking practice

  • It takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day.
  • We’re bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do.
  • Constant interruptions and “urgent” tasks can destroy your system.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture if you focus just on each day.