3 Ways to Manage Your Calendar: Dear Dan, How Do You Practice an Open-Door Policy

A world without boundaries can’t exist.

You can’t manage your calendar until you set boundaries.

A world without boundaries can't exist. Image of a tennis ball just inside the line.

Dear Dan,

I am learning how to manage my calendar and priorities. How would you suggest I manage the calendar and still continue to practice an open-door policy? I feel that limiting available time to “office hours” would then be perceived as limited openness and availability to personnel.


Manage your calendar by setting boundaries. Image of a tennis ball inside the line.

Dear Jasmine,

I respect your desire to be available. Isolation is the enemy.

In a turbulent world you’re always learning to manage your calendar.

I suggest you include boundaries along with your commitment to be available. People will understand that you cannot be available at their beck and call.

Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships.

Gather the team for a boundary-setting discussion. The following topics are relevant.

3 ways to manage your calendar:

#1. Manage your calendar for deep work.

How will the team allow people to engage in deep work?

Deep work requires uninterrupted time.

It sounds good to be available to everyone at the drop of a hat, but it’s not effective. It gives too much power to others.

Exception: The exception to closing the door once in a while is someone whose job requires constant availability. When a doctor is on-call, for example.

#2. Manage your calendar with closed doors.

Discuss creating times when people are allowed to be NOT AVAILABLE.

You already practice being not available. When you’re in the middle of doing things you deem really important, you prevent interruptions. Sometimes you leave the office to get deep work done.

#3. Establish open-door hours.

Discuss times of day an open door seems most effective and efficient. How much open-door time seems realistic?

Enable people to know when popping in is appropriate. Suppose every morning from 10 to noon and in the afternoon from 2 to 4 is pop-in-time.

Closed door time could be from 9 to 10 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m.

Expect people to adjust their expectations.


No rule is unbreakable. If the house is on fire, go ahead and barge in.

Model boundaries:

Model healthy time management for your team/organization. You want people on your team to take care of themselves. Why would you treat yourself otherwise?

It’s OK to value yourself.

How do you balance availability with boundaries?


Defeat distraction and manage your calendar: How Distraction-Addicts Find Focus

Live the big rock life: Put One Big Rock on Your Calendar