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Breaking the Business Meeting

By Kathleen Montecillo


“If I’m in meetings all day, when am I supposed to actually do work?” It’s something you hear all the time from people who realize meetings are majorly encroaching on their ability to get. stuff. done. So if we all agree that so many meetings are wasting our time, why do we still find our schedules packed full of them?

While some meetings are necessary, they shouldn’t rule our schedules. Here are a few ways you can prevent unnecessary time-suck.

Give yourself one meeting-free day a week.

Regain control of your schedule by choosing one day a week when you are unavailable for meetings. There’s nothing more freeing than coming into work, checking your calendar, and realizing you’re free to focus on what you need to focus on.

Stop accepting every meeting request.

Give yourself permission to decline meeting requests — it’ll save you from questioning why you’re sitting in a meeting in the first place. What’s on the agenda? If you’re unsure what’s up, ask. If after getting all the facts you feel like your presence isn’t required, decline the request or hash it out in an email.

Take your meetings outside.

Who said meetings have to be in a conference room? A change of scenery can boost your creativity and save you from bathing in fluorescent lights. A more casual atmosphere can keep things fresh and help people feel comfortable — and ideas flow with comfy.

Excuse yourself.

Some meetings don’t know when to die. Maybe you’re in a conversation that has gotten off topic, or perhaps you’re sitting back and listening to people talk about something that won’t affect your role in the project at all. Trust your judgment: If your time will be better invested elsewhere, indulge. Politely excuse yourself and go make it happen.

Make your meeting time count.

Of course we won’t (and can’t and shouldn’t) avoid meetings altogether, so make that time count for something. Creating an agenda saves time, and instead of sitting around a table, stay standing. This can help keep everyone alert and encourage a quick meeting.

Have you had success reshaping your meeting schedule? What’s worked for you? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter @moproteam. We’ll read all your comments unless we’re stuck in a meeting.