Hardware

Another look at how to keep your calendar from killing you

It's important to take control of your calendar so that you can impose some order on your workweek. Bob Artner revisits the issue of how to manage a packed schedule that leaves no room for actual work.


Wouldn’t it be great if there were a management equivalent of Moore’s Law? As you know, Moore predicted that the number of transistors per integrated circuit would double every two years. This prediction has held true for over 30 years now, and it has revolutionized our world.

I wish there were a corollary for technical managers to Moore’s Law, predicting that each of us will double our management skills every two years. Think of it: every two years, being able to double your workload, your ability to manage multiple projects and priorities, and your communication skills. While we make progress, as we get more experience, few of us show the exponential growth in management ability that compares to the jump in processing power from the 486 to the Pentium IV, for example.

I’ve been thinking such morose thoughts because of a mistake I made last week. While the mistake was more irritating than truly painful, it bothered me because I know better.

To see what I mean, look at Figure A. This is what my calendar looked like for the first four days of last week.

Figure A


I had 27 meetings in four days—have you ever seen anything more ridiculous? How could I get any work done? I couldn’t, at least not during regular hours, which is why I ended up schlepping a bunch of work home every night.

It’s frustrating, because I know how important it is to take control of your calendar, to impose some order on your workweek. In fact, I’ve written about this before. My column on this topic generated some of the most thoughtful responses I’ve ever received. The suggestions I outlined in that column are still valid—I just failed to follow my own advice!

Take a look at that column, and see if it can help you better organize your calendar.

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