Scheduling a Buffer


In a busy day when my meetings are back to back to back and phone calls are constantly coming in with unread emails piling up, I tend to find myself coming from a reactionary place. The time spent on each email response gets shorter while my phone calls become more direct. 

In a digital world, communication moves very fast

and it allows us to quickly forget we are working with people. Sending emails suck, but working with people is my favorite activity each day. People can be complex, but the time we allocate to those relationships can determine the outcomes we desire.

If I am to schedule myself out all day with meetings, that gives no time for additional banter when the meeting is going long. As conversation flow, so should the days’ activities. Scheduling a buffer, a time to just be present, allows for a flexible mind and puts less pressure on unplanned activities. 

On the contrary, if we are busy from the start of the day until the end, there are likely negotiations made with our relationships, our schedules, and worse – ourselves. Investing in the buffer zone creates time for moments you and your customers will remember. 

Schedules with buffers are more resilient. Instead of checking off items on a list, let’s invest in ourselves and the people in front of us. Take that extra time with an email, spend a few minutes on that phone call, and don’t feel that this time is not spent working. 

One traffic jam can cause many delays. Being on time matters, so the scheduling of buffer time is appreciated by all parties. 

As expert marketer Seth Godin puts it, “Competitive environments push profit seekers to reduce slack and to play a short-term game. If your organization hits the wall, the market will survive, because we have other options. But that doesn’t mean you will survive.

As a point person for multiple projects and team members, I tend to feel overwhelmed when I cannot reach inbox zero or when there are still questions left unanswered at the end of the day. By scheduling in buffer time I am allowing myself the flexibility to be present and carry a lighter load on my shoulders while still winning the day.

Challenge yourself to schedule in a buffer of your own. Not only will your clients or customers appreciate it, so will you.