What your 3D calendar can show you about your productivity
Have you ever wondered what your meetings look like in 3D? Well, you need wait no longer. No lie: it’s pretty cool.
This image displays all of my meetings for 2018, visualized as dots and lines.
Each dot (node) represents a person, and the size is determined by how often you met with them. Lines (edges) appear when two people participated in the same meeting. If you see dots with the same color, that means they’re from the same organization (their emails are the same domain).
We’ve been running analyses on our own calendars using data visualization tool Plotly to illustrate the relationship between yourself and all the people you meet with. Some willing Time Lords shared theirs as well. We noticed a few intriguing trends:
Similar roles have similar calendar shapes. If you’re a university professor, the way you work and the types of meetings you have will be pretty similar to other university professors. Whether your 3D calendar looks like an exploding star, a lumpy tomato, or a tinkertoy, your role will be a key factor in determining the shape. Same role tends to mean the same shape.
Industry doesn’t matter. Industry tells us relatively little about the kind of work you’re doing day to day, especially if you are a knowledge worker. A sales rep for a pharmaceutical company has more in common with a sales rep for a SaaS company than they do with a researcher within their same company, focused on lab work.
We can use these graphs to help us prioritize. When you see your time condensed and laid out in a new way, you might notice patterns you hadn’t before. If you scheduled a ton of meetings with a team that just isn’t your priority or met only once with that client who seemed promising, a 3D view of your calendar data might surface those misalignments.
Let’s check out what a few specific roles look like:
Some of our most dedicated Time Lords are CEOs who have a ton on their plates and need to meet others constantly.
CEOs tend to have a high volume of meetings, mostly unconnected to one another aside from a small cluster of internal meetings.
This is the calendar of x.ai CEO and co-founder Dennis Mortensen. He has a strong grouping of purple internal meetings, lots of meetings with diverse external people who are networked together (the multicolor dots), consistent with his relationships with, for example, investors from different firms who meet all together during quarterly board meetings. The yellow bunch is from a single invite for a talk he gave to University of Michigan students on entrepreneurship.
This CEO of a pre-revenue life science company is fiercely protective of his technical team’s time, which means he rarely schedules internal meetings. Most of his scheduled time goes to people outside the company, connecting with customers, potential customers, and candidates. You can see the resemblance to the recruiter calendars later in this post!
Account managers who are helping specific customers succeed have distinctly “lumped” calendars, meeting mostly with people who are tightly connected from specific client companies.
x.ai’s account manager James provides white-glove training and support for our Enterprise edition, which means he spends lots of time with our biggest accounts and the remainder of this time meeting with the broader sales team and product managers focused on Enterprise features.
Each of these clusters on his calendar represents time he spends with one of those clients. This kind of analysis can be useful for prioritization: maybe he’s not distributing his time as evenly as he should between accounts, or perhaps it’s too evenly distributed, and he should be more focused on a problem account.
Recruiters have the least-connected meeting profile of all the roles we examined, which means they look like radiant globes.
As you can imagine, most of the people recruiters talk to are from different companies, don’t know one another, and are meeting 1:1 with the recruiter.
Haris Silic is a Managing Director at Artisan Talent, where he helps companies in New York markets find the best creative, digital and marketing talent nationwide. As part of his job, he meets with all of his clients and candidates in person, scheduling often. Here we can see the unconnected dots (candidates) and a few grouped nodes that represent meetings with client organizations.
This recruiter from Trusted Talent LLC uses x.ai to schedule Zoom video calls with candidates who’ve applied to opportunities with their clients—people who are from disparate companies with no obvious connections. Again, we see a very even distribution of meetings.
If you’re curious what your calendar looks like, join our Time Lords program to learn more about experiments like this! Say goodbye to your sad, flat, 2D calendar and hello to a deeper understanding of how you distribute your time.
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