Scheduling - The Dilemma
There are three common scheduling scenarios that can cause rife in your day to day:
- Trying to figure out a time to meet with someone.
- Scheduling a meeting with someone, only to find out at the time of the meeting, you have scheduled something else during that time.
- Making sure personal scheduling, and work schedule does not conflict.
This article/section of Lean Creativity is here to make your life easier and discuss solutions to solve the above.
Figuring out time to meet with someone
For this one, the best solution I have found so far is Calendly. Calendly is an extremely intuitive tool used for scheduling. It allows you to select specific times for scheduling, and will sync with your calendar. I personally use Gmail, and I find it to be flawless.
The answer to solving conflicting schedules could be as simple as encouraging people to use a Calendly link whenever possible. This way, you would avoid conflicting schedules.
Dilemma with Calendly
What I have found, however, is that Calendly while a fantastic tool, is extremely impersonal. There is nothing more lacking of personal feelings, when someone asks, "Hey, when do you want to meet?", and you tell them to look through this Calendly link. I have therefore found, that I will look through my Google Calendar. I will suggest three times, and then offer for them to use a 15,30, or 60-minute Calendly link to make their life easier. This way, things are made easy, but also you let the other person know you care about them.
Personal Scheduling v. Work Scheduling
Personal scheduling is an interesting one because there are multiple types of personal schedules.
Four Types of Personal Schedules
Going back to the foundational chapters in Lean Creativity, there are four types of personal schedules, with 1 being the highest priority:
- Flexible, but planned
Recurring personal tasks are things such as school(if you are working while going to school), dropping a kid off at school, perhaps prayer, working out, or reading. Not just most, but all of the time, recurring tasks are important for your day to day. If you are consistently doing them, then you have decided that they are important elements of your life. In addition, usually, these are things that are crammed into the early morning before work, or shortly thereafter. Therefore if some more important work schedule comes into play, this is the following framework to follow:
- Push it to the after work, or the alternate before work hour.
- If not an option, push to the hour before, or hour time slot.
- If an hour before, or an hour after not an option, push to the next day.
Flexible, but planned
An example of a flexible non-recurring task would be visiting a relative, dropping off mail, buying a new pet. These are things that can be done within a week. The Lean Creativity framework suggests putting everything in a calendar. There isn't technology in place(looking at you Calendly), but we suggest the following framework. If some more important work task needs to take its place:
- Push it to an hour behind, or an hour after.
- If an hour before, or after does not work, push it to the next day.
- If pushing it to the next day does not work due to an already existing recurring task, or work-related task, consider pushing 2 hours ahead, or two hours behind.
An example of spontaneous tasks would be, life emergencies, family events. The person on the other side will be understanding(unless it's a non-important social outing). Just one side note with spontaneous tasks, many people tend to value privacy and that's definitely important. However, there is nothing more that creates trust in such scenarios other than being brutally transparent. For instance, "I went with my friends skiing this past Saturday. I decided to go down the black diamond called the Kangaroos alley. Anyway, I made too sharp of a turn towards the end, my wife/husband Charlie/Charlee..." you get the idea. Just enough to make them believe it, and that you aren't just trying to get out of anything. Feel free to keep in mind, that from the other person's perspective they have no idea who you are. Maybe to a certain extent, but not to the extent that you know.
Social is a little bit less complex than the above.
In this category, funerals, wedding, a hot date (, or otherwise), all count. They are things you have set ahead of time, or to be expected. From a psychological perspective, people are more understanding.
These are the wedding crashers, random social events, or random hangs. This is the part of the Lean Creativity framework wherein you get an idea of the bar it sets. We suggest that you do not break out of your work schedule for a spontaneous social event. If you feel the need to do so:
- Your work schedule is too intense.
- You have been working continuously for too long.
If you feel burnt out, then, by all means, take the day off, or modify your schedule, etc. Put an away in your e-mail, tell your boss/co-workers that you are taking off. If you are a starting Founder or owner, then you should not be taking off.
The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule with regards to scheduling is always put on the calendar whatever it is that you are able to do so. Therefore for work(even your commute/9-5), recurring personal tasks, flexible, but planned, social events, always put those in the calendar. You will find yourself much more aware of what it is that you should be doing at any given point in time.
Taking Notes on the Golden Rule
What will happen quite frequently is that something will happen that will cause you to re-schedule either a personal task or even a work task. What I personally do, is that I have a label in Gmail(, or whatever e-mail client you use) that I call "Modified Schedule". Whenever I modify a task Gmail lets me know through e-mail. I'll then go ahead and label that change as "Modified Schedule", and then archive it. It will give you data to any schedules that have changed in relation to "Modified Scheduling".