How I got to 0 meetings

by | Jan 17, 2024

My calendar is completely blank. No meetings, no zooms, no nothing.

I know that might seem hard to believe.

But it’s true.

I’ve experienced firsthand the rigors of the corporate calendar. I’ve worked in strategy and banking. I’ve also served on active duty in the military. There have been periods in my life that have been highly scheduled, coordinated, and choregraphed.

That time isn’t now.

I left my corporate job a few years ago. I decided to focus on my passion of music. I’ve always been making music on the side. But it was the time to embrace it fully. I started producing even more music and releasing the works of others.

I’m the happiest when I’m making music. Or, at least, talking about it. So, I try to keep my days free to do just that.

Ways I keep my calendar clean

1. Passive income
I make money via investments & royalties. I don’t trade my time for a wage. This is a large time saver. By decoupling my time from earning, I’ve unlocked a tremendous amount of free time to make more music (which, in turn, lets me make more passive income)

2. Call me
If someone needs me, they’ll call me. A lot of people reach out to me or are introduced to me. They ask me when would be a good time to chat. I often give my number and ask them to call me – and they rarely do. I just dodged another meeting. I’ve found that many things can be taken care of in a ~5 minute conversation.

I get ~10 inquiries/week by folks wanting to “pick my brain.” I help where I can and try to respond asynchronously. I think this is a good piece on why the “pick a brain” approach isn’t optimal – and how to reframe an ask.

3. Boards
I serve on only one nonprofit board. I try to gracefully say no to other boards. It’s just something I don’t want to do right now. Maybe at a later date or time.

I try to avoid recurring commitments – things that I have to show up to regularly. (The US Navy Reserve being the exception)

Fully Committed

Just because I have 0 meetings doesn’t mean I won’t schedule one. For example, I’m working on a large album project – so I’ll schedule a one-off meeting if it’s truly worth it.

Also, if I’m requesting someone else’s time, I’ll defer to their schedule and set up a meeting. It’s their time. I follow their preferences regarding how best to engage.

I have plenty of commitments these days, mostly in the artistic realm: books, music, films.

It’s challenging to go from meeting-mode to artistic-mode.

It’s my season to create, so I go into monk-mode.

It’s how I make the time to get my work done.

Family and music.

I realize that I’m blessed to be in this situation, so I know this might not work for everyone.

I can only share what works for me, in hopes that it sheds light on possibilities for your own journey.