Viciously defending your work time

One of the most difficult things about working in a business like advertising is the tension between people who do their job by doing work and people who do their job by having meetings. It’s really easy to get caught in that pattern of relentless meetings that create more things to be done while keeping people from doing the things that are already on their plate. Seth Godin has written a great little post about this problem in which he points out: 

A big part of doing your work is defending your time and your attention so you can do your work.

After getting clobbered by an overabundance of meetings last year, I set out this year to try and do a better job of managing my time by defending it from myself and others.

This was a matter of 3 things: 

  1. Reading Getting Things Done 
  2. Activating GTD using Things
  3. Setting up meetings with myself on my calendar and then viciously defending that time
The first two were fairly easy. The last one drives other people crazy. They don’t see it as being a legit block on my calendar. They want to pave over it with meetings. And the reality is that if something is really important I’m happy to move that time. But honestly, I’d rather spend my time at work getting my work done rather than sitting in other people’s meetings at the expense of having time with my family at night. It’s not easy, and it’s not always cut and dry, but I’ve found that I’ve become much more productive and useful at work than ever before.