Time management seems to be a popular topic for my sessions recently, and there are as many tips as there are individuals. Everyone needs to develop their own system that fits their preferences, needs, and temperament.

The one tip that worked for me is to take control of your calendar. If you have wide open blocks of time, it’s an invitation for others to infringe on that time, even if your intention was to do work during that unscheduled period. If you put “work on project” on your calendar, others may see that as a flexible commitment and invite you to a meeting anyway.

To counteract this, I used to schedule meetings with “Mable.” There was no Mable, but others didn’t know that. They would see my calendar as full during the periods when I needed to do deep work. It also held me accountable — I could move my meeting with Mable, but it was an intentional action rather than having the time sucked up by something else.

You can give your “Mable” another name but schedule meetings with that person and honor them as you would with anyone else. Your time with her could be your most productive meeting of the week!

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