The past months my calendar at work seems to have been a pure mayhem of meetings, seminars and other activities away from my desk and the feeling of during actual work. There are however one trick, which seems to do magic – make a meeting without inviting anyone. In modern offices with enterprise calendaring systems such as Outlook&/Exchange setting up meetings is much easier than ever before (maybe too easy but that’s a topic for another post).
It seems with the new powers of scheduling available, meeting arranges have the odd impression that any time unallocated in your calendar is fair game. I suppose you could reject meetings at inconvenient times, but often it just starts a blame game and frankly too few people seem to forget that much of the actual work needing to be done, doesn’t happen at meetings but when you work with the tools of your trade.
One way of making room in a calendar, which much too often seems to be hit with a shotgun – bundles of meetings scattered all across the week with only limited time between them, the weapon needed to make time to work in the calendar is meetings.
Plan a meeting in your calendar. Make it a good long one – consider making it “private”, “confidential” or likewise if you must – but make sure that all others trying to schedule meetings with you see a solid block of busy time at the time you place the meeting.
Don’t invite anyone to the meeting, but use that solid timeslot to get some actual work done. If the technique works, repeat it every week. Meeting planners seem largely to respect “busy” marks in a calendar, and will only as for a meeting in the busy zone, if it really is important.
I suppose that a key to making the technique work is to keep the busy zones at a suitable level. You should – within reason – be available to attend the needed meetings, but you should also be able to have solid blocks of work-time unspoiled by meetings and other interruptions.