Two Simple Commitments that Radically Improve Life for Leaders

Everything becomes distraction and reaction when you lose control of you calendar.

In an article titled, Clayton Christensen’s “How Will You Measure Your Life?, Christensen wrote, … life is just one unending stream of extenuating circumstances.”


A commitment is a decision made once.

Two simple commitments:

Commitment #1: Protect white space on your calendar. 

In the past, when someone called for an appointment, I looked for blocks of open space on my calendar. Now I look for times when I’m busy.

I choose to schedule appointments back-to-back on one morning to protect white space on another. It’s one of the best commitments I ever made.

Don’t schedule appointments back-to-back all day. Make an appointment with yourself, if you need to. However, for short blocks of time, back-to-back is efficient.


  1. Prepare for meetings in advance, if you’re going back-to-back.
  2. Include short breaks, even when you’re back-to-back. Schedule five minutes between meetings, for example. Disconnect from your last meeting. Stretch. Breathe. Focus on the next person or group. Let people know they matter by preparing for them.
  3. Set a limit. How many back-to-back meetings can you schedule and still be present?
  4. Choose a shorter default meeting length. Try 30 minutes, 55 at most. (I acknowledge that some team meetings require more than an hour.)

Commitment #2: No appointments at least one day a week.

Every week, “extenuating circumstances,” invite me to violate this commitment. Additionally, my inner people-pleaser calls me selfish.


  1. Be flexible. The weeks I travel, for example, force me to adapt.
  2. Use the time to do your job without interruption. I prepare for presentations.
  3. Some leaders choose one day a week to work from home.
  4. Establish principles that guide the way you schedule appointments.

Taking control of your calendar is taking control of your life.

What have you learned about controlling your calendar?

Suggested resource: Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less