Tag Archives: scheduling

Job Skills For The Future – Scheduling

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

So as I explore Job Skills you’ll need in the future, as the Geek Job Guru that I am, let’s talk about one no one thinks about and everyone is usually awful at.

Scheduling.

No, REALLY.

Let’s be honest right now basic scheduling of meeting, events, software launches, etc. is almost always an excruciating experience.  Why? Most people are terrible at it.  Recently I got to talk to someone who had been quadruple booked for a meeting, which I think wins him some kind of award.

So right now people are really bad at scheduling.  They don’t plan, they don’t think, they don’t check the responses.  They don’t think about launching software before a weekend.   Yes I’m bitter.

So being good at scheduling and planning events sounds like a job skill that everyone bloody well needs now.  And they do.  Trust me.

But now I want you to add what we’ve talked about previously, about working with people in other cultures and time zones and so on.  Scheduling becomes even more important in the future – says the guy who often works with India teams.

Now I want you to imagine critical technologies becoming more and more intertwined, where every software launch has more far-reaching effect every release.

I want you to imagine publicity issues of launching a book just an hour ahead or behind in this wired world.  Now ask how that’ll change.

Good scheduling is definitely a skill people could use more of now, but one that is going to be far, far more vital in the future.  But I’d also take now, thanks very much.

I think this is important enough that scheduling and planning as a basic skillset is something talented people will actually need to call out in resumes.  Note it among your planning skills, or your software launch skills, or your media release skills – but note it.

As for getting better at it, I’d recommend this:

  • Just general awareness will go far.  Take some time to watch how you schedule and plan.
  • A basic project management or planning guide or class will work wonders. Pick up a book, take a class if you can.  Get some knowledge yu can use.
  • If your company or team is bad at it, schedule (ha) a meeting to discuss how it can be done better.  You’ll learn more and you’ll look good taking initiative.

I can’t emphasize how much people need this skill now, and how important it’s going to get over time.  Remember, I belong to a profession, Project Management, that just exists to coordinate things – we exist for a reason.

Your Scheduling skills have good reason to exist too.

– Steve

The Other Side Of Career Planning

If it hasn't been apparent from eighteen months of writing about it, I'm very big on career planning.  I'm all for the organized life plan, the schedule, the milestones everything.  I don't think it's because I'm a Project Manager – though the experience probably doesn't hurt.

We all know why we're supposed to plan our careers:

  • It helps us get things done.
  • It helps us set and reach goals.
  • It lets us evaluate and measure progress.
  • Our lack of organization doesn't drive our friends and family nuts.

In that list, and in most of our minds, there is one thing missing about just why we plan our careers and indeed our lives.

That is because our plans also tell us what we're not doing.

Continue reading

Levels of Scheduling

Lately I've been coaching several people on being more organized – as well as working on putting together some of my future plans after a busy year.  I wanted to share an interesting insight that may help the readers since I know a lot of us are scrambling to plan for a future in a tough time.

What I noticed was many people have a particular "level" they're most aware of in scheduling – they may think ahead a week, a month, a year, etc. and that's where they plan best.  Though they may plan well on that level, they're often surprised or unprepared for things happening in a different timeframe.  Some examples:

  • A person who plans best on a yearly level may have a hard time focusing on specific tasks on a weekly or daily level.
  • A person who plans well week by week may lack the sense of the big picture.

For a few people, they may even operate well on more than one level – but these levels are not necessarily connected – one can be good at planning five years ahead and a week ahead, but miss, say, planning well on the level of one month.  Thus they grind to a halt caught between timeframes, trying to reconcile plans.

If you're trying to be more organized (and who isn't?), you need to be aware of you have a particular "level" or "levels" you like to schedule on, and work to ensure you plan well on all levels of your schedule.

– Steven Savage