Balancing the Maker’s Schedule vs. the Manager’s Schedule

Learn the key differences between the maker’s schedule vs. the manager’s schedule. Plus, see tips for balancing both schedules.

In an ideal world, everyone would work within the same parameters. Employees and managers would operate on the same schedules, everyone would share the same communication preferences, and employees would all work and collaborate within the same time zones. While desirable, this isn’t reality. Employees and managers work within two competing schedules that complement each one of their skill sets. Managers work within a manager’s schedule that favors short time blocks, and makers, employees, and individual contributors work within the maker’s schedule, which favors more lengthy time blocks that enable them to focus without distraction. 

The key to fostering harmony amongst the two is understanding and compromising. In this article, we’ll outline the similarities and differences between maker and manager schedules while detailing tips for balancing the maker’s schedule with the manager’s schedule. 

The maker and the manager

Maker and manager roles can simply be compared to an individual contributor and a people manager, respectively. Makers are largely individual contributors with specific skill sets—like designers, developers, writers, or artists—and managers are responsible for managing teams, coordinating projects, developing their direct reports, and making sure their teams are contributing to greater organizational goals. 

Makers and managers also deviate in the way they think. Makers possess a mindset that is centered around creation. Everything they do contributes to their greater goal of creating or building something. Managers think on the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of working towards creating or building, they are instead striving to empower makers. A maker will be focused on a specific task or project, whereas a manager will be focused on empowering those around them to bring these projects to fruition. In other words, managers are people experts, while makers are subject matter experts.

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Maker’s schedule vs. manager’s schedule 

There are two primary types of schedules: the maker’s schedule and the manager’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses or superiors and encompasses the typical calendar or appointment book that breaks the day into time blocks. This is usually done as managers often spend a large amount of their time in meetings. Blocking your day in this way makes it easy to book and schedule meetings with others. 

The manager’s schedule is usually used by those in power, whereas the maker’s schedule is often used by creators. Individual contributors or creators who work on intensive projects like writing, coding, or creating embrace a maker’s schedule, as this type of time blocking makes it possible for them to carve out the time they need to focus on deep work. These individuals also usually block time in half-day increments; if they were to embrace the manager’s schedule and work in smaller time blocks, they wouldn’t have the time or focus necessary to create. 

The key to collaboration amongst managers and makers is finding common ground and meeting in a way that appeals to both parties. On one hand, meetings can be detrimental for makers—one menial meeting can be all it takes to throw off their schedule or interrupt their concentration. On the other hand, managers thrive in perpetual change. Managers are always under the assumption that something else will come up and don’t normally allocate large blocks of time to deep work. 

Because managers are often responsible for setting meetings, they tend to schedule meetings that work within the manager’s schedule as opposed to the maker’s schedule. Smart managers who value their employees will recognize the importance of scheduling meetings during time blocks that don’t interrupt key contributors. 

Tips for balancing the maker’s schedule with the manager’s schedule 

1Adapt both schedules 

The key to balancing the maker’s schedule with the manager’s schedule is mixing things up and adapting to both. Collaborating successfully is all about compromise, and you can’t expect to strike the perfect balance between the maker’s schedule and the manager’s schedule if you aren’t willing to embrace both. 

An excellent way to take advantage of both methods while avoiding confusion is to allocate days of the week to each schedule. They may mean using the manager’s schedule on Mondays and Wednesdays and using the maker’s schedule on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Choosing which days of the week will be allocated to each schedule type will ensure makers can get the work they need to get done completed without any distractions while managers can use their respective days to schedule any pertinent meetings and check in with their direct reports. 

2Use time blocking to have an effective schedule

Time blocking is an excellent time and energy saver. By dedicating specific blocks of time to certain tasks, you’ll be able to focus on deep work and focus without distraction. Focusing on specific tasks will not only help you check more items off your to-do list, but your work will also be better quality. Time blocking makes it possible for you to focus without losing time or energy to multitasking or procrastinating. 

Time blocking is an effective time management technique amongst both managers and creators. Like any time management technique, this strategy will only be effective if you have an in-depth understanding of what you have to do, and when you have to do it. 

3Limit the number of meetings

Whether you’re a manager or an individual contributor, limiting the number of meetings you host or attend in a week will do wonders for your productivity. Progressive organizations are continuing to find success in eliminating unnecessary meetings or amalgamating meetings that are short or ineffective alone. Before scheduling a meeting, ask yourself the age-old question: “Could this be an email?” 

If you’re wary of eliminating meetings altogether, consider scheduling asynchronous check-ins. Asynchronous check-ins or meetings will allow individuals operating on both manager and maker schedules to participate and contribute their feedback during a time block that works best for them. 

4Turn your notifications off when on the maker’s schedule

Working within the maker’s schedule is only effective if you’re able to limit distractions and focus. The point of the maker’s schedule is to allow for enough time to focus intently and get work done. If you’re constantly being distracted by notifications, emails, or work chats, you won’t be able to work effectively during the deep work time that you’ve scheduled in your calendar. 

5Use collaborative meeting agendas

Leveraging a collaborative meeting agenda is a great way to foster collaboration and alignment. Not only will a collaborative agenda ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to the agenda, but it will also ensure everyone has all pertinent information and can prepare for the meeting in advance.

Fellow’s meeting management software makes it easier than ever to create a collaborative agenda to which everyone can add. Also, Fellow’s one-on-one meeting software enables you to empower your team to build great meeting habits through collaborative agendas, real-time note-taking, and time-saving templates. 

meeting agenda items

6Hold some asynchronous meetings

As stated earlier, asynchronous meetings can be an excellent tool to streamline communication. These meetings can help: 

  • Eliminate distractions and foster productivity
  • Relieve pressure for responding immediately
  • Grant employees more control over their workdays 
  • Create an ecosystem where deep work and focus are prioritized 
  • Streamline communication and collaboration across different time zones
  • Enable employees to communicate during a time that works best for them

7Set your status as what your schedule is each day or week

Transparency is key. To avoid confusion and let your teammates know which days align with each respective schedule, it’s best to be upfront and update your status. Updating your status to include information about what your schedule is on each day of the week will ensure everyone is on the same page and able to communicate effectively when needed. 

8Host office hours 

Implementing office hours is a great way to improve communication with your employees. Not only that, but it also aids in strengthening relationships and getting to know your team members beyond work. If you haven’t already set consistent office hours, this is your sign to start implementing office hours that work for employees who are embracing both manager and maker schedules. 

Maker’s schedule vs. manager’s schedule

Learning the difference between a maker’s schedule vs. a manager’s schedule is key when determining how to streamline communication in your organization moving forward. To create harmony amongst both parties, it’s best to implement practices and techniques that allow members from each party to work and meet within parameters that align with their respective schedules.

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About the author

Hannah Ross

Hannah is an experienced content creator and digital strategist with a demonstrated history of working with startups, small business owners, and large organizations. Presently, Hannah serves as the Founder at Flamingo Social where she strives to create impactful organic content marketing strategies that help founders tell inspiring stories.

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