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Which way you block off the time?

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  • Which way you block off the time?

    As I have a lot of meetings daily (usually back to back) I'd like to block the time for daily office and computer tasks arising from the meetings. I have to options to block off the time: 1. As all-day event (but in this case I can find out that there's no time left and the day is occupied with back to back meetings again) 2. As calendared item with start and stop time (but in that case the item will be constantly renegotiated because customer meeting can be requsted for the same time). Can you advice a method that will let prevent those "buts".

    Regards,

    Eugene.

  • #2
    In my experience, all day events are completely ineffective in "reserving" time for things you want to do. Block out specific times or don't bother.

    And once you've blocked out time, treat it the same as you would any other appointment. Would you bump Customer A because Customer B wanted his time slot? Appointments with yourself are just as important.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      I would support Katherine's position. In fact I would go as far as to recommend that you schedule your week as fully as possible. That way you get a 'real' feel for the amount of open time you have.

      In my own case that scheduling also includes 'travel' time to and from meetings etc. It's a very good way to see where all those odd minutes go to!

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      • #4
        awesome

        This is an awesome thread. It was just the issue i was coming up with next. And your answers are terrific. I can't hear it enough: to make appts with myself and honor them. Also really like the idea of getting in the imp things on calendar over the course of the whole week in advance. Thanks, Trish

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        • #5
          Does it mean that so called "All day events" (Outlook terminology) are of no use?

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          • #6
            I use All Day events as reminders for things I'd like to get done on a particular day but at no particular time. These are not 911 events. But if I have to have a buffer zone between meetings to process my notes before the next one, I schedule it as an appopintment with myself and honor it like any other appointment I have.

            The All Day is a nice placeholder for me for the things I used to write on my Day-Timer left hand page in the To Do section. Do sometime today when you have a chance.

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            • #7
              Personally, I'm not a fan of scheduling a week full. Life changes too much; something unexpected will arise in a few days which will require some of your time and will knock your full schedule out of whack. Better to build in some empty time.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
                Does it mean that so called "All day events" (Outlook terminology) are of no use?
                All day events that show you available won't help preserve any time. All day events that show your day blocked can work to keep time on your calendar if it's a rare event. If people learn that you regularly block out entire days or large chunks of days, they will find that to schedule a meeting with you (with or without others) that they have to do it the old fashioned way and call you to see if you have a "real" meeting or can work out a time with them. As a person who must schedule a lot of meetings I find this to be a royal pain. It is necessary sometimes though to block out time.

                If you can, you may find it effective to block out that time and schedule it to be in another place. Either book a conference room just for yourself or see if you can work at home for a few hours. I've read here that some people take their Weekly Review to the local Starbucks. Either way, I find it makes it easier for me to see it as a fixed meeting with myself if there's a different location involved.

                Another way to find work time that won't be impacted by meetings is to shift time or shift your workday. My company has flex time, so I start at 7:30 during the school year and at 7:00 in the summer. This gives me a nice block of time in the morning, especially since many people time shift in the other direction and don't get in until 9:00 or 9:30. Other people who are also early are treating this time as their protected work time, so it tends not to be imposed upon. From a practical perspective, this means regularly scheduled meetings need to start no earlier than 9 or 10 and end no later than 4. This gives everyone some time before or after meeting times to get work done.

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                • #9
                  I agree with Brent that any schedule can be destroied by a real day. Anyway any schedule is more or less artificial.

                  I've tried to block off 2 hours each day for the next week and found out there's no space left for any meetings And I'm in sales... But if I don't schedule these 2 hours for inbox_checks&office&computer_tasks (I can move this block of course but within the same day not to the next day) I will have no time for that. And that would mean there's no time for meetings preparation and other administrative tasks.

                  On the other hand this block is not a "holy cow". Why not to exchange it from time to time to a customer meeting? But how to make sure that this doesn't happen on a regular basis???

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
                    On the other hand this block is not a "holy cow". Why not to exchange it from time to time to a customer meeting? But how to make sure that this doesn't happen on a regular basis???
                    First, schedule it during times when your customers generally don't want to have meetings in the first place. I have an advantage here because many of my contacts are in a different time zone. I do my inbox wrangling and administrative stuff while they are asleep.

                    Second, treat it as sacred time unless you have no other alternative. Practice the phrase, "I'm sorry, that time is difficult for me. How about another time?" As I said earlier, treat it as you would an appointment with a customer: if you really have to, you can probably move it, but you'll try really hard to find an alternative first.

                    Katherine

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                    • #11
                      I use All-Day Events in Outlook simply for things I need to know about the day. For example: Graduation Exam is being administered on that day (even though I have no responsibility for doing anything, I like to know it's happening), holidays, deadlines I have set for school principals to send certain things to me.

                      For me, this is the most practical setup because of the way my BlackBerry displays the monthly calendar view. Something that is an All-Day Event causes the date to be displayed in bold. Appointments are indicated by one of more small bars beside the date. Hence, if I am out of town a particular day and mark it as an All-Day Event, it's not going to display any differently on the monthly BlackBerry view than if the All-Day event was "Flag Day." If I am going to be out of town the entire day, I schedule a starting and ending time. I can see at glance in the BlackBerry which days are full and which are not.

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