A Schedule Isn’t A Personality

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)

.My next book, “Think Agile, Write Better,” is about changing how we writers think about work.  There are many writing systems out there (even Agile ones), but they don’t always change your mindset.  Ticking off check boxes and statuses doesn’t mean you grow.

While outlining the book, my mind turned to the subject of schedules.  Many writers have schedules – and folks like me make them professionally.  But as an Agilist, I know sometimes schedules don’t work, and we cling to them anyway.  Suddenly the words “A Schedule Isn’t a Personality” leapt into my mind, and then into this blog post.

Why do some of we writers get so obsessed with schedules?  Why does it become part of us even when it doesn’t work or drives us crazy, becoming some kind of graven image of times and events?  Why do we obsess about schedules to our detriment?

First, I think schedules give a sense of control.  We have an idea of what to do, when to do it, and what will happen.  This ignores the unpredictable nature of creativity, life, and the world (especially as of late).  The control is often an addictive illusion.

Secondly, I think schedules are things we expect.  Everyone else has a plan.  We have schedules at work and at home.  They’re supposed to be there, right?  So we create them even if they don’t need to exist (or be that tight).

Third, I think we want a schedule due to social pressure.  Some authors have tight release dates and schedules, so shouldn’t we?  Someone else expressed a plan, and we feel we should have one too.  We’re not authors if we don’t do this, right?  We ignore that every creator is different.

Fourth, we do it as we were taught to do so.  We’re following some writing system we adopted, or because our parents influenced us.  Scheduling can become a habit (trust me, I know) even if it serves nothing.

We make schedules for many reasons, but not out of some deep motivation, need or reason.  This is why so many self-created schedules can be frustrating because we think they’re important but don’t care about them.  I’m all for scheduling, but not a schedule as self-abuse.

So don’t let a schedule overtake you.  Make one because you really want to and for your own reasons.  Even me, the Project Manager, know there’s times not to make them.

Steven Savage

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.



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.

Read more