This year I became a dad…again! And it was wonderful. And as mentioned in parental leave post I was able to take some significant time off.
On my first day back to work, a Monday, someone put a meeting on my calendar for 9:30am to discuss a non urgent topic. I declined it and proposed a new time 2 days from now.
If you won’t protect it, someone else will take it from you
In the example above, the other individual thought that after 7 weeks off, I should immediately prioritize their work-item above all else. They decided that I should kick off my return by addressing their needs first. I don’t blame the person from taking that approach. After all, they have a job to do, and they are trying to it the best they can. But I also am trying to do the best job I can and managing my calendar (and for the reader, your calendar) to deliver the best work is a part of it.
Everyone needs to know how to prioritize that day and how to create focus time. At work, your calendar might be open to others to show your availability. It can be helpful to find the time to meet together, but it is also an invitation to take your time. It is not uncommon for colleagues to add meetings to any open time slot they see, which might end up in multiple hours of meeting time without any opportunity for focus.
This is why I strongly believe in owning your calendar and blocking it to create focus time for yourself.
Here are some benefits I find by blocking my calendar:
- I have less back to back meetings because I give myself breaks.
- Every day I try to shape my day so that my most productive times are not spent in meetings.
- I’m able to batch meeting days when needed, and create really big focus time blocks on other days.
- My time off work is off work.