Death by Meetings

Has this ever happened to you?  You opened up your calendar and gasp?

“OMG – WHERE DID ALL THESE MEETINGS COME FROM!  How did this happen?

Or

“OMG, I’m so busy with meetings that I don’t have time to work!”

If you relate to this, then this post is for you!

Seriously, I have so much to do this week and when I went onto my calendar, I literally let out a cry b/c every day except Thursday is a solid block of meetings.  4 hours on Monday.  6 hours on Tues.  5 on Wed.  1 on Thurs and 4 on Friday.

I call this Death. By. Meetings.  And this either means I’m falling behind in my work, working late and early hours and exhausted by the end of the day.  NOT. SUSTAINABLE.

I also know I’m far from alone in this.  I constantly hear our clients say things like:

“I have so many meetings, I can’t even start my work until the end of my work day.”

“I’m drowning in meetings.”

“I had so many meetings today, I couldn’t remember anything I did in any of them.”

What to do?

Whether you are booking your own meetings, allow others to book meetings for you, are a slave to your clients, your boss, your co-workers and to yourself, I will share 3 strategies that when implement, work.  Since I have backsliding on these simple guidelines, my calendar and I have paid a price.  So, we’re in this together.

  1. Brevity. Less is more when it comes to meetings. Train yourself to set meetings for no more than 30 minutes.  Some meetings only need to be 10 – 15 minutes.  And unless you are actively working on a project with someone that needs a longer amount of time to dig in, embrace the shorter meeting.  You will be surprised to learn how much you can get done in a shorter meeting when you cut to the chase and dive right into your agenda.  You and your clients and colleagues will be forever grateful.
  2. Boundaries.  If you have full control over your calendar, then it is up to you to decide when you will and won’t have meetings.   Try setting at least 2 days a week that are meeting free.  If that is not possible, then chunk your work day so that say, the mornings are meeting free and afternoon meetings are from 1 – 3pm.  Or vice-versa if you want your afternoons to be meeting free.  Meetings sprinkled throughout the day are disruptive and don’t allow you to fully focus on your work or adequately prepare for your meetings.   If you have other people setting meetings on your calendar (admin, team calendars etc.), then create blocks of time on your calendar for your own work that will show up as meetings already on your calendar.  In other words, set boundaries.
  3. Buffer. There is nothing more exhausting then having back to back meetings for hours on end.  At a minimum, build in a 15 – 30 minute buffer between meetings.  This allows you time to wrap things up from one meeting (take notes, send out follow up e-mail), clear your head, rest for a bit and mentally prepare for the next meeting.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to stave off meetings and beat your calendar back into submission?  If so, please share!!!

Until the next time!

Vivienne

 

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