Pruning Your Calendar

You know the feeling when you’re in a meeting and you find yourself asking “why am I doing this?”

Be honest, we all go through this.  If you’ve never experienced this then I think you’re lying to yourself.  From the entry level employee all the way to the most powerful executives on the planet, from time to time you are pondering this question.  And I would argue that the higher you move up the corporate ladder the more often this runs through your mind.

Recently I noticed I was asking myself this question more often than not.  And I had the typical responses like: “This is my job…” orThis is what I’m paid to do…” orIt needs to get done and no one else can do it…” 

I had to call bullsh*t on 95% of those answers and if you really took a hard look at what you’re doing and were honest with yourself, I bet you would call BS on yourself.

Why Am I Doing This?

One of the easiest ways I’ve combated this problem is to regularly prune my calendar.  I have on my to do list every week, typically on Sunday evening as I prepare for the week, to prune everything on my calendar.  Every week I’m amazed at the number of things that I see on my calendar that I say “why am I doing this” or usually “why am I doing this now?”

When I find myself asking the question and I don’t have a solid response I cancel it.  It’s that simple.  What I’ve found is that priorities change so fast these days, and especially for me in a startup where things can shift weekly, daily and even hourly.  What may have been an awesome idea 1 month ago and you put on your calendar could now be a colossal waste of time.

Get Help To Prune

Sometimes this is difficult to do on your own.  Often I sit with my co-founder and review my calendar.  He knows enough about what I’m doing to know the priorities but not so much that he’s in the details.  So he’ll ask questions like “why do you keep meeting with…” or “why are you still trying to work on…”.  Having a 3rd party look at your schedule can really help open your eyes because the truth is sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.

So I urge you, go through your calendar on a weekly basis and prune the meetings and review your schedule.  (hint: reoccuring meetings are the best to start with because those need to be re-evaluated regularly).  Ask yourself, is this what I need to be doing right now, but make sure you’re honest with yourself.