The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Slack
Almost everyone underrates it
The more uncertain the domain, the more slack is important. And most of the people you work and live with are accidentally arrayed against you about it.
Over-scheduling themselves is probably the biggest mistake I see people make with their time management. That contains a subtle mistake: thinking you can predict what will come your way and to schedule everything out like it's a train schedule.
Many corporate cultures are terrrrrrible at this. Everyone's calendars are like a CPU that's pegged, trying to adjust to new workloads: deadlock. If you have a highly-collaborative culture, everyone works across teams. So now you’re trying to find distributed consensus when everyone is almost deadlocked under high load. This is terrible system design. But we do it with our calendar’s all the time.
It’s like an extremely expensive blockchain: all this synching, all the time, at extremely high cost, for achingly small progress.
I personally sort of opted-out quietly and have far fewer meetings. But I don't advertise this. I know some extremely accomplished folks in a very uncertain domain (venture capital) that explicitly scheduled their days as: 1 hour of meeting, 1 hour off. The slack was by design. Some meetings should have been 15 minutes and they’d end early. Others were critical and needed to extend to 2 hours.
If you can’t predict what’s coming, you need slack in your schedule. Almost everyone sitting at a keyboard reading this probably has way more uncertainty and need for slack in their life than is available.