Scheduling, Time, and a Lack of Both: a Holly Rant

Hi internet–here is a slightly garbled collection of thoughts about scheduling and time management. Proceed with caution if you are expecting coherence.

I learned a lot from my time in the ballet company as a youngster–and beyond just technique. Very quickly it became obvious (to me) that talent alone was a poor substitute for dependability. If you wanted to be in the piece, you needed to show up for rehearsal, no matter how good of a dancer you were. Particularly as a Junior and Senior in high school, I gained a reputation for showing up regularly and on-time, as well as maintaining a solid grasp of choreography–and I suspect this got me further than my admittedly middling talent.

Now as an adult, I just plain do not understand how it is so hard to say you are going to do a thing–and then DO THE THING. There is no easier way to get on my shitlist than to commit to a rehearsal or a show and then cancel at the last minute. There is no easier way to lose opportunities than to say “oh sure yeah I’ll do the thing” and then flake out later.

I have ESPECIALLY strong feelings about this in a ballroom context, because if you ditch on an event or rehearsal–you are also ditching on your partner. People–especially professionals in a given field–need to recognize the time commitments necessary for events like, say, a theater show, and then budget accordingly.

And let’s clarify–I have no problem with people saying “I have a competing thing scheduled , I’m not going to be able to make x/y/z rehearsal”, as long as they state this in advance (as in a week in advance). Perhaps on of my failures in empathy is my compete lack of understanding how some people can’t seem to figure out how to get themselves to the place they say they are going to be, at the time they say they will be there.

And people always say “but Holly, it’s life, sometimes stuff happens and I’m just late/can’t show up”. To which I respond, “yes, it’s a chaotic universe, so give yourself some buffer time–both in getting from point A to point B and in balancing all the tasks you need to do in order to make your life happen.” Is that callous? Or too strict? I don’t think so, but clearly others have differing opinions.

And now–let us dispel the notion that I am any kind of saint. In planning and scheduling, I have a tendency to over-commit and say yes to all of the cool projects that I and others dream up–probably from a deep-seated fear of missing out. But I am getting better at recognizing when my schedule is packed to bursting. And once I’ve agreed to something, I NEVER cancel a rehearsal with someone unless I’m a)vomiting blood or b)my car exploded or c) there are two feet of snow falling from the sky (Looking at you, Stella).

Here’s how I deal with planning: I keep a meticulously updated Google Calender, as well as paper calendars at my desk that I cross off and scribble on. I check my calendar before I agree to things, and I agree to things in a more-or-less first-come-first serve sort of way. People who know me well know that they need to book me for some kind of event or project two months in advance. This is actually where I fail myself sometimes–I was considering a relaxing summer, buuuuut surprise, I’ve already agreed to or invented my own projects that will have me hopping back and forth across the country. Oops. 😛

Anyway. Enough ranting. So to summarize–if presented with an opportunity, analyze your schedule, say yes or no to the thing based on interest and availability, and then stick to what you’ve agreed to do.

Also always show up 10-15 minutes early-but that’s a rant for another day. 🙂

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