One of the best insights I've come across when it comes to productivity and time management was in an essay written by Paul Graham, founder of startup fund Y-Combinator. It's about the distinction between maker schedule and manager schedule.
In the essay, Paul observes that there is a difference between the nature of the work done by a manager (who often leads a team) and a maker (a writer, coder, artist, etc).
Managers can operate in one-hour slots, holding meetings one after the other.
Makers, on the other hand, need time to get into their flow, and they need to feel they have abundant time to do that. They often operate in half-day chunks of time (or longer).
Expecting Makers to fit within a Manager schedule kills their productivity. A one-hour meeting doesn't cost them an hour, but possibly the entire day.
I've experienced this multiple times where I would not be able to get any creative work done knowing I have a meeting coming up during the day or an event in the evening. It's especially problematic when I have meetings scattered throughout the day or week, without any substantial chunks of time for creative work.
I've had success with one to two hour "pockets" of time for creative work, but I function a lot better when I feel I have longer times to explore creative ideas.
I've not found a schedule that works best for me, especially when I do have a team to manage, and juggling both manager tasks and maker projects isn't working too well for me.
How do you make time for creative work?
And have you struggled with the Manager/Maker schedules before?