Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule
Paul Graham’s (of YCombinator fame) essay on the difference between the Maker’s Schedule and the Manager’s Schedule is a timeless piece of advice that is sadly not as well known as it should be. The essay provides an interesting, if not logical reason behind why programmer’s skip meetings called by managers, while managers often tend to interrupt programmers.
Here are some of the important points in his essay:
- Bosses often run on the manager’s schedule
- The manager’s schedule is granular to an hour (or half an hour)
- If there is nothing scheduled in the appointment book for this hour, it’s practically a “free hour” in which you can slot in a new appointment (or a “short” meeting)
- People on the manager’s schedule always have something coming up in the next hour, so it’s a no-brainer for them to remember or check what they should be doing next
- The ticket to productivity is to fill in as many slots as possible with quality meetings
- Many people who make things (like programmers and writers) instead run on the maker’s schedule
- The granularity is at least half a day
- This means that if an interruption (such as a “short” meeting) cuts the work unit, that work unit is effectively wasted
- People on the maker’s schedule need to remember that there is a meeting coming up, which throws a spanner into their workday because you can’t really predict how far down you would be thinking about a problem
- The ticket to productivity is long stretches of uniterrupted work time
Speaking of interruptions (see what I did there? :P) there had been a number of studies (both anecdotal and scientifically validated) that enormous productivity loss of interruptions.
As a maker, how do you explain to your colleagues/friends/significant others that you’re not being rude for ignoring or telling them away when they interrupt you? One way could be through an analogy: sleep.
Another way of explaining would be to let the other person experience what you’re experiencing during an interruption.
What do we do at Mindvalley to help mitigate these concerns?
HipChat and channels (or any asynchronous mode of communication)–because the communication is asynchronous, the other party is not required to immediately respond to a question or a request, and gives the the other person the choice of answering you in their own time. The popping icon is really distracting so we need to turn that off as well