June 22, 2013

The Importance of Scheduling Nothing

I recently read an article from Jeff Weiner / CEO at LinkedIn that talked about the importance of scheduling nothing and it really got me to thinking again about everything currently going on at my job.

How do your days look when you are at work? Is it non-stop meetings, maybe a quick break for lunch, then more meetings to attend? Are there any “gaps” in your day that allow you time to catch your breath, or even to catch up on the “other” parts of your job that need to be addressed? Many times my days get filled with non-stop meetings. I end up not even having time to recap the meeting notes from the meetings I just attended let alone get prepared for the next meeting!

“… thinking, if done properly, requires uninterrupted focus; thoroughly developing and questioning assumptions; synthesizing all of the data, information and knowledge that’s incessantly coming your way; connecting dots, bouncing ideas off of trusted colleagues; and iterating through multiple scenarios.” Jeff Wiener

The biggest encouragement I can give you today is to recommend that you schedule “nothing.” Carve out some time for you in your workday. Open your calendar and schedule several 30 minute meetings with”yourself.” I do this all the time and it is a great way to “catch up” and get your focus back from all the incessant non-stop meetings you attend. If you do not have a door on your office and live in a cubicle world like myself, go to a conference room or another part of the building (take your laptop if need be) to get away so that you can process what has been going on. Take a walk. Recap your notes. Catch up on email. Clear your mind.

If you don’t take the time to think and act proactively you will continue to find yourself being REACTIVE. And at the end of the day, when you look back at your progress, that feeling of “what did I do all day?” will have you scratching your head. You can change this by being intentional about scheduling some space for yourself throughout the day. Jesus himself, who was constantly teaching, gave us this example while he was on the earth.

“But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” (Luke 5:16)

(And after preaching all day he said the following:) “And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. And after bidding them farewell, he departed to the mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:45-46)

Let’s use His example as our ultimate guide!

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