Are you planning your Maker time?

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Last month I read Paul Graham’sMaker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule post, and I’m still mulling it over.

The gist is that Makers – programmers, artists, writers, creatives – need big blocks of uninterrupted time they can use to immerse themselves in their craft and create. Manager time is all about synching the moving gears of an organization – connection, communication, cooperation, consensus are prized.

Makers keeping Manager hours can’t create: every time they’re about to actually make something, it’s time for another meeting. Managers keeping Maker hours schedule more meetings. Seriously, you need periods of time when you focus on the core job of creating, and you need blocks of time to communicate, connect, research.

So who exactly is deciding when you’ll be creating or connecting? You day-job manager, Facebook friends or worse, no one?

Bouncing back and forth between these two very different time modes repeatedly in the course of a day is a recipe for frustration and pitiful results.  Why not start scheduling Maker time for yourself explicitly? How will you ever get your startup built if the only times you make are in late or very early hours of the day when its quiet – and you’re exhausted or not yet really awake?

If you want results and connection, creativity and cooperation you’d be well advised to start deciding what days and parts of days will be Maker time or Manager time. If you don’t decide and then stick to your decisions, circumstances will decide for you.

So how much Maker time (email, IM, Twitter, Facebook, cell phone are off – just you and your text editor or IDE) do you have blocked out for the next 7 days? Any?

Comments

  1. I think this is why so many startup workers have such unhealthy schedules.

    I find that during the day I need to spend most of my time doing business-related work, like customer support, networking, sales, etc.

    Also, during business hours I need to always be on alert to put out any fires so a large part of my energy is spent on being prepared for action.

    And as I’m sure you know, when you’re in the “maker-role” even sitting there thinking requires a lot of energy.

    So usually I find my most productive maker time is in the middle of the night.

  2. Bob –

    I did a post detailing my work hacks for dealing with maker vs manger time. While it’s got a “lean startup” angle, I’ve been told the hacks are general enough.

    Link: http://www.ashmaurya.com/2009/12/achieving-flow-in-a-lean-startup/

    Cheers,

    Ash

    • Just ready your post Ash – excellent! I think the hacks you describe need to be in every startups toolkit! Maker/Manager time is one of those concepts that once explained (first by Paul Graham) becomes a key productivity perspective. You get very different (and better, IMO) results applying this perspective to your own time allocation process than not doing so.

  3. Yes, this is a real problem. I try to work out what I’m doing each day the night before. Sometimes I end up doing other stuff that gets in the way!

    It is a question of balance and discipline.