On a few occasions over the past weeks, our family has stuffed food to maximum capacity in our fridge. The more we can squeeze in, the fewer grocery store trips or orders we have to make.
Interestingly, my calendar has undergone the same evolution as my fridge. I get asked about availability, I open my phone calendar and find a 30 or 60 minute slot. Soon enough each day is packed and I'm squeezing in meetings or calls like frozen chicken in the freezer.
The problem with this methodology is that we treat every meeting or call in the same manner. We think of them in terms of time increments. If an afternoon looks open, simply "slot in" the meeting or call.
What most of us don't do when scheduling meetings/calls is think about our bandwidth! Certainly, some meetings require much more effort and input than others.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to make the best use of the scarcity of time:
1) Is this a meeting that is going to require 100% of my bandwidth? If yes, what are the meetings which I want to have precede this meeting?
2) I can be physically present for this call, but can I be mentally present?
3) Where should I schedule this meeting/call in my day based on my total available bandwidth in order to keep my stress level manageable? Step back and look at the bigger picture of your day to make the best use of your bandwidth.
Arranging your time should be more similar to how you place furniture in your living room than how you stuff your fridge during a pandemic.
Bandwidth operates under different rules than time.
By thinking about managing your bandwidth, rather than time as form of measurement, you prevent errors and mistakes because you don't rely on hope that you'll be in your best form for that meeting or call.
Filling in your calendar with "slot mentality" may allow you to meet deadlines and complete projects but it comes at the price of stress. Something you don't need more of right now! Furthermore, scarcity of bandwidth taxes the mind and can lead to poor decision making.
What are you going to do to avoid tunnel vision when arranging time on your calendar?
Have a great weekend, Karl
+Quote: "Faced with a time shortage, we squeeze tasks into the nooks and crannies of our calendar, leaving less and less time to switch between them. As a result, we become less and less productive exactly when we need to be most productive." Sendhil Mullainathan