Peter Drucker said that “most of the tasks of the executive require, for minimum effectiveness, a fairly large quantum of time.” That’s from the Know Thy Time chaper in The Effective Executive, published almost half a century ago.
Sure, every knowledge worker could benefit from having large blocks of time for doing pre-defined work. But the practical reality is that most workers have schedules that are more fragmented than what Drucker might have imagined. When he wrote that book, the workers he was addressing didn’t have cell phones and laptops. They didn’t use air travel for mass transit they way workers do today. They didn’t have Skype meetings with overseas clients outside the 9-5 workday.
GTD to the rescue! If you’ve organized your next actions into contexts that work for you, you’ll find that you can take advantage of small chunks of time to plow through lots of tasks. By organizing with your busy schedule in mind, you’ll be able to use those few minutes here and there to get things done that you would need to get done anyway, at some time. This is not to say you can neglect to schedule those large blocks of time for doing executive tasks. Just be smart by planning for how you’ll use the small windows of time as well.
What can you do with 15 minutes, before your meeting at 11:30?