One of my primary self-improvement projects is to use my time more effectively, especially the small blocks in between meetings. I'm not a manager, but I have more of a manager's schedule than a maker's schedule. I willingly accept more meetings than most developers. I like the interaction, I like to get others unstuck, and I like to participate in cross-team conversations. The result: most of the empty time on my calendar is in blocks of an hour or less.
It's hard to do deep work in an hour or less. If I make full use of the hour, sure, I'll probably feel good about my progress...but that assumes I can get into the deep work promptly and that I don't get distracted. In reality, what looked on my calendar like a good hour often ends up feeling like 15 minutes of meaningful progress. If I'm lucky.
Thankfully, I have a lot of good role models to emulate at Artsy. Some of my most admirable coworkers accomplish meaningful work in the same size blocks of time that I would have previously dismissed as too small for meaningful work. They might not know it, but I've been watching and taking notes.
Over the next couple weeks, I'll share the rules I've developed for myself to work more effectively with my small blocks of time. I don't always follow them, but the days I do are the days I feel most successful, productive, and effective.