Scheduling your time - How tightly do you plan?

In reading Bob Stanke's post and looking at my week from a personal and professional perspective it got me thinking about calendar management.  My schedule is fairly dynamic during the course of a week, with a heavy ebb and flow of incoming meetings and demonstrations.  Combine that with a family including three kids and my calendar can get out of control quickly.  One of the things I have been considering is specifically blocking time on my calendar to provide time to accomplish non-meeting tasks and work.

There needs to be a balance between the scheduled meetings, scheduled work, and open time slots for future scheduled sessions.  It's the balancing act I'm struggling with a bit; specifically what is the best way to manage the disparate sources of impact on my calendar.

I'm pondering a few ways of trying to manage my meetings and non-meeting time:

  1. Create bands of time during my work week that are blocked out by default
  2. Create alternating blocks of time during the week for reserving time
  3. Expand scheduled meetings to include extra time to get work done before or after
I'll give all three a try and see how they work out, but in the mean time if you've been able to get your calendar under control, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.