Most powerful people are on the manager's schedule. It's the schedule of command. But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started.
When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker's schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.
For someone on the maker's schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn't merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.
I think a lot of people in science can relate to this, and taking a model from industry might be a help in explaining. This is the kind of essay that ought to be posted on a lot of lab doors! Especially within the university context, where administrators are not themselves invested in your productivity and have many committee positions to fill. The part on "speculative meetings" also helps to explain things -- do you attend that 3:30 colloquium or not?
Most clocks just tell time, simply and reliably. Not the $1.8 million "time eater" formally unveiled Friday at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge.
The masterpiece, introduced by famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, challenges all preconceptions about telling time. It has no hands or digital numbers and it is specially designed to run in erratic fashion, slowing down and speeding up from time to time.
It has a giant monstrous grasshopper on top that devours time as it ratchets the clock forward.