5 Ways to Stop Meetings Taking Over Your Day

I remember a time when work was simple.  For the most part working at my desk, checking off tasks one-by-one, ending the day with a sense of achievement.   Somewhere along my work journey MEETINGS have wormed there way into this picture and have muscled up to be a real bully.  There are times I feel a slave to them, back-to-back for most of the day, only to have that sinking feeling that I have not accomplished much.  In other words, my real day starts at 4pm! Exhausting to just think about!

Here are my 5 tips to regain control of your work day:

1. Learn to Say No.

I recently read an article about Warren Buffet regarding the value of your own time.  Saying no and managing your time is the key to success.  Time is something that we cannot control, it ticks by regardless, and it is a limited resource.  There are only 24 hours in a day and no more, so use it sparingly. Do not use the auto response to meetings as Accept, first consider the value.

2. Half the Meeting time

I am a big fan of 30-minute meetings or less.  Get in and get out.  Make the time together valuable.  Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve this.  These are a few tactics that have worked for me:

  • Recognise and call out rabbit warren behaviour. Focus on the topic.
  • Pre-read materials are assumed and those who have not will need to catch-up in their own time
  • Extended social chit-chat should be discouraged
  • Have a chair for each meeting and ensure the agenda is followed

3. Will an email do?  Can this be cancelled?

Always ask the question:  Is a meeting the best use of everyone’s time?   There are many alternative methods to communicate these days, however people typically gravitate to face to face interaction.  Technologies such as Skype for Business and Zoom can offer an appropriate and efficient solution.

4. Saying No is not possible – There are other Options!

Of course, there will also be times in which you cannot decline a meeting. Contemplate the importance, value and subsequent impact it has on your day. Dependant upon these considerations, determine a suitable alternative. Here are some useful options:

  • Are you the right person?  Can this be delegated to someone else in your team?
  • Can you attend for a part of the meeting?  Especially if the meeting is several hours.  Look at the agenda and work with the chair to find an optimal time to attend.

5. Meeting Etiquette

Having a disciplined culture for meetings is important.  There is much written about this subject, from imposing “Beer points for every minute you are late” to only being able to talk when you have the batten, to formal meeting notes on approved corporate templates, to always having an agenda.  Whatever you agree on, have something in place for people to follow.

If you’re having IT issues keeping you from having a productive day, reach out to our team to see how we can get you the solution you need!

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.