Cowboy Scheduling — Does it Help Reduce Stress?
Can scheduling like a cowboy or cowgirl help reduce your stress? Increase your productivity? Allow you to focus on the big versus the busy? In a word, yes. Let me explain what it means to schedule like cowboys and cowgirls. My Chief of Staff and I began meeting daily at 9:35 am. The first order of business was reviewing my schedule for the day, week, and month. While monotonous, it was necessary to be forward-looking and forward-protecting.
At first, my schedule was completely full. There weren’t even realistic breaks to eat lunch or go to the bathroom between meetings. We then decided to fence off specific times for certain activities: 10-10:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday were for coffee meetings. Most calls would be scheduled during my drive time. 12:45 to 1:45 was blocked for lunch meetings.
Fence off Time
Most important was fencing off big untouchable patches of time on the calendar. Intentional fencing-off time:
a) Helped maintain my sanity and health; and
b) Allowed time for deeper thinking and writing.
Previously, I haphazardly ran my schedule. I’d get a pocket of 15 minutes here, 12 minutes there. It was sporadic, inconsistent, and stress-inducing. I was writing my books sometimes in the back of Ubers because it was my only “downtime” as I ran from place to place.
We now have a method, a method we named cowboy scheduling: A calendar with wide-open spaces and fences. I still can’t ride a horse to save my life, but I can now schedule like Annie Oakley or John Wayne. I just don’t smoke six packs of cigarettes a day as Wayne did. This week give it a try—try scheduling like a cowgirl or cowboy by fencing off specific times for certain activities and leaving wide open spaces for creativity, relaxation, and deep thinking.
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