No Meeting Friday!

There was a huge positive response to last week’s tweets about no meetings on Fridays.  So, I thought it was appropriate for us to officially designate Fridays as “No Meeting Fridays.”

Many people have been saying that they are booked for so many meetings that they cannot get their work done.  Have you ever finished a work day and thought, “Wow, I was in meetings all day… I did not have one minute to do my work.”

If you let them, the “Outlook Outlaws” will take all of your time.  They will schedule unneccesary meetings all over your calendar.  They will steal your valuable time.

And let’s face it… most of these meetings are not worth the time committed…

  • They have no agenda – What are we even meeting about?
  • People are late – Very productive when you start 20 minutes late.
  • Are poorly run – Deteriorate into a 25 minutes discussion of hockey or last night’s TV shows.
  • Run over their time limit
  • Accomplish little – After your last meeting were there any decisions or actions to be taken? Or just another meeting scheduled?
  • People doing other things – What happens when meetings are poorly run & people are stuck in them all day?  People resort to doing their work during meetings!

So, let’s take back one day of the week for productivity!

Let’s declare Friday’s… Meeting Free!

The idea here is to protect an entire day for productivity.  Let’s spend Friday getting things done. Projects. Reports. Creative work. One-on-one coaching. Things that require time and are important.

So, how do you protect your Friday?

Start simple.  Block it out.  If you want to protect your time, you need to “Block it out.” If you do not schedule yourself for time to do work… you will quickly find that you do not have any.

“But, my employer will not allow me to do work all day on Friday.”  (How silly does that statement sound?)

Go ahead, block out all Friday.  Feels good, doesn’t it?

I did this last week. Now, a week later, I am happy to see my Friday schedule. I have only one 0.5 hour meeting this morning at 9AM.  After 930AM, I have the rest of the day scheduled to work on my projects.

If you block your Friday, you will observe a few things:

  • Most people will avoid scheduling on Friday.
  • A few will not – these are the people who would have double/triple booked your calendar anyway, or they have something important – these are the people you want to meet with anyway.
  • Friday will quickly become your most productive day of the week.  What a great feeling to finish the work week!
So, what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and mark next Friday! And let’s get productive. :)

How early are you?

Trick question: When do you show up for the 9AM meeting?

If you are like most people in the workplace, you shuffle around and or even get to work at 9AM and then head down the hall to the meeting.

What happens?  People are wandering in for a good 5-10 mins.  They make small talk and the meeting does not start until 9:10-9:15. Right?

I show up at 8:50.

Yes, a full ten minutes early.  Why? Because it scares people.  Just kidding, but more on that in a minute.

I show up early so that I am ready to start the meeting on time.  It sends a message to my team, whether or not I was the one who called the meeting.  It also gives you a buffer in case something comes up, you will be on time vs. late.

Some are already thinking, well, that is a lot of time.  10 minutes.  If you have 6 meetings in a day, you would be wasting a full hour waiting for meetings to start.

The Most Productive 10 Minutes

Here is the secret.  I get more done in those 10 minutes than most people do in a full hour.  In 10 minutes, you can knock out 5 “two minute tasks.”  (For you GTDer’s)  You can address 10 or more emails.  You can even get 1-2 phone calls done.

Another little secret.  Those 10 mins are some of the best relationship building/networking times.  There is always small talk before a meeting. But, you also have a captive audience of some of your co-workers that you might need to touch base on for something else.

Some of the best things to do in those 10 minutes:

  • Review your todo list – Visiblity to your tasks leads to action.
  • Send off several emails – If you have issues keeping your inbox at zero, this is a great time to act.
  • Make a phone call or two – Not to interfere with the start of the meeting, of course.
  • Read papers or documents – Great time to review items.
  • Touch base or just chat with co-workers on other topics that need to be addressed.

Scaring Your Co-workers

If you take this lesson to heart, within only a few days you will hear whispers from your co-workers.  It will freak them out when they repeatedly come to a meeting and you are already there.  Ready.  And Prepared.

An additional benefit… you will notice that people will start to respect your time more. Meetings will start closer to on time and people will shame themselves if they are not there.

By the way… when does the 9AM meeting end?

By 9:50, of course.  You may have a 10:00 meeting.  :)

What are you thoughts on how meetings run at your organization?  Please add your comments below.