How much precious time in your work week is spent on meetings? If you work in a collaborative team environment, or if you’re a leader in your business, your answer is probably: “Way too much,” right? Back-to-back meetings have become business standard; and they tend to leave everyone feeling drained and with a low productivity yield at the end of each day.
So, why is this happening to so many people? Well, for one, often there are recurring scheduled meetings in place, which can often end up being quite pointless. Another kind are those totally unplanned meetings that get added to the mix every time something new comes up.
Sure – it’s necessary for every team to have a predictable communication system in place, and recurring meetings are fantastic for that very purpose. And equally, every company has unforeseen things that pop up, which makes the ad-hoc meetings sometimes inevitable.
But, does that really mean your whole work day – or career – is doomed to an endless circle of rushing around from one conversation to the next? Not a chance!
I want to share with you guys three smart, simple rules that top leaders use to prevent “meeting overload,” and if you want to maximise your work day – you should try them out with your teams, too!
This should dedicate some time and space for all the impromptu conversations that do not belong in your other meetings. It’s pretty much like a communications escape valve.
In short, a meeting time should be reserved each week to ensure that everyone is up to speed on the most recent developments and big decisions that are being made.
There should be no set topics for a weekly Ad-Hoc Meetup, but the one and only rule is that everyone has to be there. So when the team knows that they have the Ad-Hoc Meetup coming, and they’ll all be in the same place with freedom to talk, they bring all those ad-hoc conversations there, rather than scheduling a million separate other meetings. This can often result in one of the most productive hours that your team might spend every week!
This kind of strategy should be put in place to get rid of those mindless recurring meetings. A lot of the time when people schedule a recurring meeting, they set it to repeat for an indefinite period of future time – even when it is no longer relevant!
You could try preventing this problem by scheduling recurring meetings that do not exceed 3 months, for example. This way, you can make a conscious decision every 3 months, as to whether or not that is still how you should be investing your meeting time, or if there is anything else that you can adjust – such as the timing or the meeting stricture, for example.
My final tip in getting rid of the toxic occurrence of time-inefficient meetings, is to actively designate specific team-level meeting-free times zones every week. This robs them of the space to grow and flower!
This renders your meeting time more sacred and precious, as it now becomes a more scarce resource, forcing everyone to think more carefully about exactly how they use that time.
If you implement all three of these rules effectively, your calendar will in turn reflect:
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