How To Stop Waking Up To Surprise Meetings

Alexis Haselberger
2 min readNov 6, 2023
Photo by PhotoMIX Company

Does this sound familiar?:

You planned out your day for tomorrow.

You even took care to plan realistically. (You’re not falling into that trap of aspirational work again!)

You’ve cleared your schedule for some deep work.

You’re so excited to finally make some major headway on that big project.

You get to bed on time (early even!) to set yourself up for success tomorrow.

And then…

You get up, get ready, grab your coffee, open your laptop, and WHAM.

You see that all that time you’d blocked to get work done has been usurped or chopped up by brand-new meetings on your calendar.

“All that planning was for naught,” you say.

You’re frustrated.

Again.

Because you know that instead of getting all that stuff you’d planned to do done DURING your workday, you’ll be doing it after dinner, where it’ll eat into your personal time.

You wanna know a little secret that might just help here?

Yeah?

Let me introduce you to my best friend, “the rolling calendar block”.

What does this mean and how does it work? Internally:

Try adding a rolling “ Do Not Schedule” (or whatever you want to call it) block for 24–48 hours in the future (YMMV according to your work culture).

So, block off today and tomorrow, all day, as “Do Not Schedule”.

And then tomorrow, push that appointment forward by a day so that you’re always blocking “today and tomorrow”.

You know that saying “Poor planning on your part doesn’t necessitate an emergency on mine”? Or the pithier “Your urgency is not my emergency.”?

That’s what we’re leaning into here.

Sometimes, sometimes, there’s an emergency meeting that needs to happen TODAY.

But not usually.

So, will you have to make some concessions occasionally?

Yes.

But that’s far better than waking up every day to your plan gone awry.

Externally:

If you use Calendly or another scheduling tool, you can set this “rolling block” up right there in the settings.

I’ve done this so that no one can schedule a meeting with me within 24 hours of NOW.

This helps me protect my time and my plan (and makes me a much more pleasant person!).

A person who is NOT annoyed that my plan has been ruined daily.

Because I’ve protected it.

Are you game to try this strategy?

Have you tried it?

Do you have another strategy you use to protect your time?

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Originally published at https://www.alexishaselberger.com on November 6, 2023.

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