There's a classic blog post by Paul Graham titled Maker's Schedule, Manager's schedule. If you've never read about this concept, I suggest you do it. It's a very good framework for understanding two fundamentally different ways of working. The whole article is about the intersection of these two types of schedules and how to deal with it. Here are some the highlights:
About the manager's schedule:
About the maker's schedule:
One solution Paul suggests to deal with the manager's schedule conflicting the maker's schedule is office hours. It's funny because it obviously reminds you of school. Profs have office hours. Well, it makes sense. Schools are supposed to be filled with students on a maker's schedule.
Paul writes this about speculative meetings. Or coffee dates. Which I love to do. Both because I'm curious and because I love trying new coffee spots.
This week, I schedule all my meetings Friday. That way I know that Friday won't be productive. But at least it's scheduled unproductivity. It's not always possible
I'm a strategist and I like to schedule days in chunks. One big thing in the morning. One big thing in the afternoon. Sometimes, nothing happens for an hour, and everything happens in the next 15 minutes. Scheduling in chunks of 3hr+ is the only way for me to achieve anything.
I think it's good to be aware of this concept. If you're on a maker's schedule, try to protect yourself from people on the manager's schedule. Otherwise, you'll feel unsatisfied at work. If you're on the manager's schedule, think about it when you book 15m meetings with a creative/tech person at 10h15 in the morning. Assume you always take 3hr of their time.