Maker and Manager schedule

From Weekly I/O#43

Maker's schedule vs Manager's schedule: Understand the productivity style the people you work with are operating on.

Article: Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

Software engineers usually don't like meetings since they operate on a different type of productivity style than their managers. Paul Graham elaborates this difference as Maker's schedule vs. Manager's schedule.

For managers, tasks are done by what calendar blocks look like: each day is divided into one-hour intervals. Therefore, to work with someone, managers just find an open slot in their schedule and book it to get their task done.

Nonetheless, for people like programmers and writers, meetings can be a disaster. A meeting that breaks an afternoon into two intervals can destroy the whole afternoon since the two intervals are too small to do anything hard. The efficiency is highly discounted because the makers have to load the entire context twice when working. Context switch always has a cost in performance. In PG's words:

"For someone on the maker's schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn't merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work."

Therefore, it is important to understand the productivity style the people you work with are operating on. As Michael Seibel mentioned in this YC's video, he, as his startup's business guy, basically learned this difference the hard path by destroying the productivity of his co-founders.

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