As a manager, I find that my meetings fall into a few distinct categories. I often need to be in different mindsets for each meeting type. Am I learning and consuming information? Am I empathizing and connecting? Am I “selling” and convincing others? Am I focused and creating? Not only does the color help me to remind myself what “mode” I’m in for my upcoming meeting, but it also helps me when I want to “defrag” my calendar to do more active optimization. Not only is a swiss cheese (lots of short meetings with short gaps between meetings) calendar hard for me when it comes to the mental context switching, I also find that I’m more effective when I can stay in one mindset for as long as possible.
Regular recurring 1+1s — I have a lot of these, and I try not to reschedule them out of respect for my team members.
1-off 1+1s — Sadly these are the most likely to be rescheduled, they’re likely infrequent, and if I have to move something they tend to inconvenience the fewest people.
Meetings where I’m “on-stage” — These are the meetings where I’m presenting, convincing others, or a key stakeholder, they tend to need pre-review, or at least some mental prep. Seeing this color on my calendar is a clue that I should block off time before this meeting to ensure that I’m prepared to present or give effective feedback
Meetings where I’m being “presented to” — These tend to be meeting with lots of people, hard to schedule, and very disruptive if I need to cancel or reschedule. These are meetings where I want to be focused, so I try to avoid having any meeting that might be stressful or emotionally charged before them so I can focus on what’s being presented.
External guests — Anything where first impressions are extra important, or rescheduling is much harder, things like client meetings, external partners, or interviews.
In-betweens — I block off time to walk between buildings, grab lunch, take breaks when I’m expecting deliveries, get to, and leave work (when we’re not WFH), or anything else that’s not a meeting, but needs to be scheduled so someone doesn’t block off that time.