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Paul Graham Explains Why Meetings Thwart the Flow of Creativity

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meetings lead image1 Paul Graham Explains Why Meetings Thwart the Flow of Creativity

Image source: Scut Farkus

On every workday morning for as long as I can remember, I’ve started the day by mentally running through my calendar to determine how many meetings are scheduled. On the days with no meetings, I breathe a huge, exultant sigh of relief. Because I know I can actually get something DONE! I can get into flow without worrying that I have to stop at 10:45 am and then again at 12:30. Meetings thwart creativity because they break up the day into small, unmanageable chunks.

Managers, take note! But don’t take my word for it. Here is Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, who explains this phenomenon in his typically compelling way.

There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour. When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in.

Read the rest @ PaulGraham.com…

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3 Comments »

3 Comments

  1. BT on 12.12.2013 at 11:44 (Reply)

    I’ve often speculated that the predominance of extroverts in management leads them to hold meetings because the managers thrive in gregarious, people-oriented environments. Management necessarily becomes more of a lonely position because there’s fewer interactions with subordinates on a personal or friendly level, but working alone is not their forte. Hence, have meetings. Efficiency as a whole is compromised, but the work completion of the manager is met.

  2. DonZilla on 12.12.2013 at 17:04 (Reply)

    In my experience, people who thrive on meetings and extroverted social interaction at work are often incompetent at performing tasks. On a conscious or subconscious level, they’re trying to make up for their incompetent task skills with social skills.

  3. Vicki B on 13.12.2013 at 04:25 (Reply)

    At LastJob, I was having a conversation with my manager, in which I was saying that I really did not need to get all of my groupmate’s vacation and meeting schedules shared with my calendar. We ended up talking about calendars and I mentioned that I didn’t refer to a calendar very often. My manager asked, quite sincerely, how I knew what I was doing or where to be without lookng at a calendar. I had to explan (just as sincerely) that my days werent spent in back to back meetings.

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