5 Tips to Help Put Meetings in Their Place

Put Meetings in Their PlaceI was talking to a business colleague the other day who was venting that he was spending almost 8 hours a day in meetings.

Curious, I asked, “When are you doing your work, then?”

“That’s my problem! I am not getting to any of it!”

Are you spending your day in meetings instead of doing your work?

Meetings Don’t Do Work

Meetings waste time.
Todos get work done.
It is that simple.

Too many companies get this concept backwards. Their employees spend all day long in meaningless meetings, and then wonder why nothing gets done.

Sales not closed. Initiatives not completed. Deadlines missed. And the list of unaccomplished work goes on…

Yet, meeting rooms are full. Calendars are overbooked. And workers waste the majority of their day locked in meeting rooms.

If you are spending your entire day in meetings, when are you going to have time to do your actual work?

Want to get more done? You need to put your todos before your meetings. You must give them top priority, rather than going to any and all meetings that pop on your calendar.

“Always put your todos before your meetings.”

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Avoid meetings and instead work on your work. Then, if you have time left you can join meetings.

Here are 5 Tips to Help Put Meetings in Their Place:

  1. Block Time on Your Calendar – This is a tried and true strategy. Before others can cram your calendar with their agendas and meetings, make sure you block out time for your work. Schedule yourself out at least two weeks. Block time for your work, projects, and daily tasks.
  2. Practice the Right to Decline – In most companies, employees feel obligated to accept any and all meeting requests. Make sure you practice the “Right to Decline.” You can say no to meetings. If your are too busy doing something more important, then by all means decline. If you are a leader in your organization make sure that your team members understand that they have the right to decide if they can attend a meeting.
  3. Eliminate Standing Meetings – Repeat meetings only multiple wasted time. Standing meetings that appear over and over on people’s calendar are ineffective. (Some companies have even banned them!) Make sure your team only meets when absolutely necessary, not because a weekly invite is on your calendar again.
  4. Keep Meetings Short – If you must have a meeting, keep it short. Most meetings could be held in half of the amount of time they are scheduled for. Yet, they will always expand to fill the allotted time. Try scheduling meetings for 30 minutes instead of the default hour long duration.
  5. End on Time – We have all been in “the meeting that wouldn’t end.” Be disciplined about ending meetings on time. Better yet, finish them 10 minutes before the end of the hour. Be respectful of participants time. If the meeting runs over, you are disrupting even more people’s productivity.

Todos Before Meetings

Meetings talk about work. Todos work on work.

Always schedule your work, before you accept meeting requests.

Otherwise, you will spend your day locked in conference rooms instead of actually doing the important tasks on your list.

Question: Do you spend too much time in meetings and not enough time doing your work? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

2 thoughts on “5 Tips to Help Put Meetings in Their Place

  1. This is really helpful. I’m cross-posting to my newsletter, news.mettasolutions.com. Check it out and let me know if you have feedback. The next edition, with this cross-post, will go up by tomorrow evening.

  2. Too many companies get this concept backwards. Their employees spend all day long in meaningless meetings, and then wonder why nothing gets done.

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