Schedules: makers’ and managers’

Paul Graham:

I find one meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning. I know this may sound oversensitive, but if you’re a maker, think of your own case. Don’t your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don’t. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.

I forget which one — FSP or Sciencewoman — but one of them wrote about research and non-teaching days; personally, I found that keeping a full day free of any other schedule really helped me concentrate on getting research, and more often than not, research oriented administrative tasks get done.

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