Maker Vs. Manager



This one isn't so much a time management technique as it is a time management principle. Some people operate on a different type of schedule than others depending on the type of work they're doing, and scheduling that work properly can do wonders for your productivity.

The distinction originally appeared on Paul Graham's (essayist of entrepreneurial awesomeness) website, and I don't think I can explain it better than he does, so I'll use his words:

    There are two types of schedule, which I'll call the manager's schedule and the maker's schedule. The manager's schedule is for bosses. It's embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you're doing every hour....Most powerful people are on the manager's schedule. It's the schedule of command. 
Because this idea of scheduling is what we're all used to (it's what all successful people use, after all!), odds are good that that's what you're trying to do. But for some businesses, it's not a good system:
    But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started.

    When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting.

For a business that includes large-scale, creative projects -- anything from programming to painting to building a bookshelf -- blocks of several hours are necessary to work effectively.

    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.

So give some thought to what's causing your problem. If you think that devoting an entire day to your project would help, then do so. Pull a starving-artist act and lock yourself in your workshop with a do-not-disturb note on the door threatening violent death to anyone who interrupts you. Or take your work someplace where no one will think to look for you. Or tell everyone that you're going out of town for the weekend and instead work on your project for 16 hours straight.

(Some people, on the other hand, are oppressed by the idea of doing only one thing all day long. If this use-time-in-half-day-units thing doesn't sound like you, try Time Striping instead)

Doesn't sound like you? Go back to Time Management Hacks and look for a time management technique that fits you better.

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