Act Like the President: Let Your Calendar Boss You Around

“(Microsoft Chairman Bill) Gates, who operates a bit like an unofficial head of state, is managed down to the precise minute by an innumerable team of handlers and schedulers and assistants.” (The New York Times Magazine, September 7, 2014)

00371790-986900_152Looking for ways to improve your time management? Pretend you are Bill Gates, an “unofficial head of state.” On second thought, don’t stop at “unofficial.” Pretend you are the president, the official head of state. Imagine that when the president comes into his office in the morning, his chief of staff tells him, “you have a meeting with this foreign dignitary at 10, a press conference at 11, and a Rose Garden photo op with a dozen senators at 2.” The president does not announce, “You know what? I don’t feel like the Rose Garden today. I’d rather work on my speech.” No, like Bill Gates, he (or she — we can dream, can’t we?) allows his assistants to “boss him around,” managing his activities throughout the day.

Smart entrepreneurs will do the same.

Too often, I see business owners making decisions about what to do based on either what they’re in the mood for or what feels most urgent. Neither is the best choice.

Instead, make a time block. I doesn’t need to be quite like Bill Gates’ schedule, managed to the minute. Make one that is stringent enough to keep you focused, but flexible enough that you can live with it. Make no block shorter than half an hour; bigger blocks are better.

Then when you begin to work each day, let your calendar “boss you around.” You don’t have to make a slew of decisions according to your mood or who’s hounding you. You just set to work on what your calendar tells you to do.

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