Do you ever lack time to complete tasks and wish you had more time for deep work? Time management does not need to feel stressful or overwhelming.
Getting the most out of your time is an essential skill to master throughout your career. Whether you are an individual contributor or a manager, obstacles will always hinder your productivity. This makes it essential to learn to manage your time by optimizing your calendar.
In episode 110 of the Supermanagers podcast, Matt Martin, Clockwise’s CEO, shared the three ways he optimizes his calendar for increased productivity and efficient work. Keep reading to learn how he structures his week to maximize productivity.
Tip 1: Schedule deep work blocks
Proactive time blocks are critical to both individual contributors and leaders. We often hear from leaders who try to make themselves available to their teams anytime, even at the cost of their own Focus Time.
Matt stresses the importance of not having the mindset as a manager that you must always be responsive to your team. New managers often make the mistake of feeling like they should always be online and available to answer questions, thus sacrificing their deep work blocks. However, Matt believes one key to being a great manager is protecting your focus time. Leaders need time to work through critical challenges, a task that’s almost alway higher leverage than unblocking an individual task.
“Make sure that you’re not robbing yourself with this mindset of needing to be responsive to your team all the time.” - Matt Martin, Clockwise Co-founder & CEO
As a CEO with a filled calendar, Matt reserves at least two weekly time blocks for deep focus work. Examples of tasks he would complete during the blocked time could be building a strategy doc, drafting a new requisite for a leadership role, or even building a development plan for employees. The idea is that completing a task over two hours of deep work creates a final product that is much higher quality than something that is rushed into multiple thirty-minute blocks between meetings.
Pro Tip: It might not surprise you that Matt relies on Clockwise to optimize his schedule to create additional Focus Time.
Tip 2: Thematically bucket meetings
Shifting the mental context from one meeting to another can be difficult. Jumping from the analytical mindset of a growth team meeting to the customer-focused approach of a customer success check-in to a bi-weekly one-on-one meeting poses a challenge to any manager. By thematically regrouping similar meetings into the same day, you’re setting yourself up for success and increased focus.
Matt tries to schedule all his leadership one-on-one meetings in the morning on Mondays and Tuesdays. Thursdays are reserved for highly collaborative meetings, like his Staff meeting and product reviews. That leaves Wednesday and Friday for ad-hoc meetings and ideal for deep work. Matt also recommends giving yourself a little buffer time between meetings, so you have time to capture your thoughts and follow-up.
Tip 3: Find a tool that works for you
Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to capturing information and action items. You might prefer using Trello to add action items after meetings, whereas your colleague might prefer Fellow, Google Docs, or Notion.
Matt recommends everyone find a management tool that best suits their needs and preferences. Matt uses multiple tools, but places a heavy emphasis on speed and ease of use.
Matt recommends using the tool religiously to capture thoughts and information. Afterwards, you can triage which information gets transferred into your company’s tool of choice.