I posted recently about the current trend where I see people spend a lot of their time at work looking busy and how this was killing the time to create, reflect and strategise.
I thought I would revisit this theme and talk about the other killer of time – meetings!
Peter Drucker got it spot on when he said, “Meetings are by definition a concession to a deficient organisation. For one either meets or one works. One cannot do both at the same time”
I’m not saying that all meetings should be banned – discussion with colleagues, information sharing and decision making are all positive aspects of meetings.
But, what would happen if you halved the amount of time you spent in meetings?
How much more time would you ‘work’!
There are various things you can do to reduce and limit your meeting time.
Here are my favourite three that will help you be far more productive and set you apart as a leader in your organisation:
1) Insist on an agenda. Make sure there is a purpose to the meeting and that your attendance will help everyone reach that purpose.
2) Insist on actions. In most meetings there is the notion of agreement but then the next steps of deciding the best actions, who is going to do them and when are left floating in the air.
3) Book in 45 minute meetings. Just because MS Outlook predefines calendar time into 30 minute blocks, it doesn’t mean that meetings have to follow suit. Rather than booking in a meeting for an hour, diarise it for 45 minutes and then use the other 15 minutes to work towards the actions coming out of the meeting whilst the decisions are still fresh.
I heard a phrase once that went something like, “When all is said and done, more is said than is ever done.”
Whilst everybody’s talking, that is probably true, but don’t let it apply to you!