The most productive people have these meeting habits

You know the busyness wheel. When you feel like a mouse running on a wheel: too many tasks, too many demands, too many meetings, just to maintain status quo. You can’t afford to waste time.

Before that wheel kicks back in after your Christmas break, take the time to reset and relook at the habits that are helping or hindering you getting important stuff done.

You can’t create time, but you can choose what you say yes and no to.

Do you waste too much time in meetings? For example, where:

  • Team meetings focus on updates and detail (that could be re-laid faster via email) rather than valuable discussion
  • There’s no agenda
  • There’s an expectation the meeting needs to run for the allocated time
  • The loudest opinion gets the most attention
  • No decisions are made
  • People say yes and nothing gets done
  • You must be seen to be there else the perception is you’re not supportive.

What would you do with another 30 hours per month?

Cultural norms often dictate the number of ineffective meetings you’re invited to. Research from Atlassian revealed we spent 31 hours of wasted hours in meetings per month¹.

Meeting time must be an investment of your time, not a cost.

Have a think about your typical meeting schedule. What habits around meetings are you tolerating that are wasting time? Consider these two goals:

Reduce time in meetings by 10+%

What criteria would you use to say no? For example:

  •  Where no decisions are being made
  • Where the invite can be delegated to a team member
  • Someone hasn’t done the work to provide a good enough reason for you to attend

Make every meeting purposeful

  •  Be present, choose your attitude, and give your full attention
  • Align on the purpose and time allocation.
  • Agree on the criteria by which decisions will be made
  • Move the conversation on if the detail isn’t necessary
  • Seek commitments when decisions are made
  • End the meeting sooner if possible
  • Have a voice for establishing etiquette standards that respect others eg: start a meeting on time.

Bringing it all together

Some meetings you must attend whether you like it or not. For other meetings, the goal of attending might be to develop relationships. For everything else, think of your time as an investment worth money – where you win or lose. Be clear about your minimum benchmarks to accept a meeting invite. Be ruthless. Most of your time is in your control – so don’t waste it.

What new meeting habits are you going to kick start this year with? If you want some help lets chat.

¹https://www.atlassian.com/time-wasting-at-work-infographic

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