Makers vs. Managers: Blocking Out Productivity

timeTime management comes to the forefront of everyone’s mind during the holiday season. Failing to block out enough time for events with friends and family can spin fun time into bouts of shouting. The approaching New Year also gives rise to planners and dreamers that require effective time management to succeed.

I’ve learned, during my tenure in the world of Fortune 50 corporations, small mom and pop type businesses and retail, that there are two primary ways of managing time. The organic processes naturally developed from the functional needs of two types of workers.

Workers who create, build, or produce are “makers.” Those who manage others are “managers.” Both require good time management skills to accomplish their charter, but each requires a very different structure of blocking out time for effectiveness.

THE MAKER
Professional makers need large blocks of time to create their product, content or intellectual property. Time is required to get in the zone, be productive, and document activities enough to pick up where they left off at a future time. Most industries require time blocks of 2 or 4 hours.

Makers tend to use the morning for creative blocks of time and the afternoons for logical endeavors. However, makers also break the rules and might find they are more productive during the wee hours of the night. Only 60% of the top 100 authors of the 20th century followed this pattern of creating in the morning and editing in the afternoon. Most wrote when they were inspired and fixed their writings at more logical times.

THE MANAGER
Professional managers typically oversee the tactical efforts of a team. They tend to block out their time in smaller half-hour increments, allowing some level of flexibility to put out the next “fire” that attempts to erode the team’s progress. The smaller segments allow for faster responses and adjustments to circumstantial changes in the tactical operations of the day.

Strong managers block out empty time slots to shift their mandatory work after a “fire” takes the team off task. In other words, they plan for the proverbial fires each day. Most managers primary goal is to support their team and make sure they continue functioning no matter what surprise issues arise.

Productivity crashes when a manager tries to block out 2-4 hour increments that keeps him or her away from supporting their team. Likewise, makers that try to touch numerous projects in a given day using half-hour increments soon finds their work less provocative, of a lower quality and far less entertaining.

Blocking out time based on function is the only method that supports the type of work the makers and managers face. Constant interruptions of a maker produce little results. Long durations of managers away from their team weaken their process and negatively impacts tactical results.

The right type of time and duration is critical to the success of both the makers and managers. Blocking out time based on function will always facilitate success. This will bring peace to the worker and confidence that his or her workload will be completed on time.

Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers
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