Keeping the Most Important Appointment.
Imagine being able to meet with someone who is totally in tune with the needs of your department, intimately knows the issues between you and your employees, bosses and coworkers and has a solid idea of how to correct difficulties. Now that would be a person to meet with.
The problem is we rarely schedule time to meet with this very important person. Why? Because we feel a little goofy about scheduling time with ourselves.
We feel better about scheduling time to meet with almost anyone else. Certainly our bosses, directors and employees. And while these are important people who should get face time with us we just can’t seem to block time for ourselves even though time is exactly what’s necessary to get important things done.
Even if we do set aside time to prepare for a board meeting or review a proposal we treat that time as unimportant allowing interruptions and distractions.
As a former reporter in a variety of broadcasts and publications, I’ve seen signs posted on stanchions in newsrooms saying: “Reporter on Deadline Do Not Disturb.” Even though these desks were in open concept writer pools the reporter was able to work without interruption. Other reporters, editors and general newsroom employees were trained to respect the Reporter on Deadline notice.
Being able to keep an appointment with yourself not only requires self-discipline but to train others to respect that time. If you have a gatekeeper inform him or her that you’re not to be disturbed for a specific period of time. If you’re in a pool like the example of the newsroom print a sign and post it on or near your desk. This pre-notice prevents others from taking it personally.
And when you schedule – and keep – these appointments use the time to plan and prepare. It’s an opportunity to get ahead of problems.
You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll be able to accomplish. Over time you and your department will become far more efficient preventing crises than fighting them.
Tim Sharp is the Chief of Curriculum for TSOD.com and is a Lecturer at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.