I hit a wall recently. I have been working reactively for too long and have stretched myself across too many communication channels. Partly because it’s my nature to want to help people. But also because I enjoy being involved in community and conversation. However, I’m kidding myself if I think I can maintain multiple conversation threads of any substance, and work productively. I’m sure this isn’t new to anyone, but during COVID-19 confinement it has intensified interactions, both in frequency and depth.
I’m working on a new routine for planning my day, to give me head-space for periods of deep work. That’s the ‘plan’ anyway. The ‘reality’ is entirely up to me.
- If I plan my availability, I’ll get work done.
- I am the master of my own calendar. If a meeting doesn’t work for me, I’ll suggest another time. If someone doesn’t make an effort to use scheduling assistant and find a time when I’m available, I’m not obliged to attend the meeting. I can negotiate another time.
- I’m going to plan for three modes, levels of availability, and hopefully participate in activities that fit them.
- Available – Perform light work that doesn’t require deep thought. Tasks that I find easy to complete and aren’t urgent, where I can still be productive with the occasional interruption.
- Collaborative / Busy – Meetings, idea generating conversations, conversations that are on topic and have an agenda. I can be interrupted if it’s important or urgent. But if it isn’t, let me stay in my zone as I work with others.
- Focusing / Do Not Disturb – Presenting, deep work, working on my own and in my head-space, creating content, responding to important messages, 1:1 calls and coaching.
Most of our roles require us to be available for a portion of the day, some more than others. I think if I get the balance right between these three modes, I can be more productive and less reactive. I’ll let you know how I get on.