Makers and Managers – Time management tips on working together

Makers make and create.
Managers manage people (like Makers among other) and things (that Makers make).

It gets complex working together especially when the two do not understand each others’ planning/time-blocking requirements.

  • Makers need large blocks of uninterruptible time (usually >2 hours) to get into Flow to get stuff done.
  • Managers have meetings and rarely need to get into Flow (those damn reports notwithstanding.)

But business demands interactions between these two different types of time blocking and only if they both understand the other can they work harmoniously.

Things to think about when trying work well together:

A maker’s schedule

  • Long: You should be able to block out however much time you need to get “in the zone.” Research shows it takes as long as 30 minutes for makers to hit that sweet spot of flow where things really start to happen.
  • Uninterrupted: This is the key. No Slack…really, no Slack. No phone notifications. Nothing but the sheer pleasure of a cup of coffee and an empty screen.
  • Stretches: You may need more than one in a day. For some people the key is something like the Pomodoro technique which drives you through multiple short stretches of time delegated to certain tasks.

If you’re in maker mode:

  • Block out your calendar for long stretches of uninterrupted time.
  • Let your team know you won’t be in Slack during certain time blocks.
  • Remove other distractions like phone notifications.

A manager’s schedule

  • The manager’s schedule is comprised of meetings. Preparing for meetings, scheduling meetings, rescheduling meetings, having meetings, and debriefing meetings
  • Whether it’s one-on-ones with direct reports, or status update meetings, the job of a manager is to, well, manage. That means knowing what is going on with their team, the broader company, and removing blockers from team members to make sure projects are moving forward and hitting company goals.
  • From a scheduling perspective, this means lots of face time (whether it’s in person or virtual doesn’t particularly matter) and lots of hopefully short but well-run meetings. Your calendar should allow for these types of interactions.

If you’re in manager mode:

  • Figure out your best cadence for meetings.
  • Communicate your schedule to your team.
  • Be mindful. It’s important to be understanding of others on your team who may follow a totally different schedule, especially the makers.

Stella Garber of Trello talks about this in her article “Maker vs. Manager: How To Schedule For Your Productivity Style