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13 Jun

Eight ways to have more time for other things than meetings

Datum: 2017-06-13 10:36

When we sim­ply have too many meet­ings to attend, there are a few things we can do to free up some space for oth­er tasks.

There are too many
You can reserve time that will be kept free from meet­ings, for instance dur­ing eight flex­i­ble, recur­ring hours which you sched­ule in the cal­en­dar every week and keep clear of meetings.

Anoth­er idea is to set a lim­it to how many meet­ings you can allow your­self to have in a day. Will you lim­it it to two, three or four?

Or, ensure that you have one day every week that has absolute­ly no meet­ings. How would you for instance use your Thurs­days dif­fer­ent­ly if they were com­plete­ly devoid of meetings?

You will not have to run between meet­ings if you make it a habit to always block 30 min­utes both before and after any new meet­ings you sched­ule in the cal­en­dar. Good for keep­ing stress-lev­els down.

They are too long
Per­haps it is not the num­ber of meet­ings you have a prob­lem with, but their aver­age length. Make any meet­ings you are in charge of your­self short­er. Sched­ule 45 min­utes instead habit­u­al­ly sched­ul­ing an hour, and ensure that you get through what you need to do in that time by hav­ing a clear, time-spe­cif­ic agenda.

Ask your­self what meet­ings you could replace by com­mu­ni­ca­tion through some oth­er medi­um, email for instance, so that you do not have to restrict your­self in time and space in the same way as a meet­ing requires you to when it is not absolute­ly necessary.

Some just need to go
To meet” is a verb just like to write”, to send”, to call” and to report”, and can hence be sub­ject to pri­or­i­ti­za­tion in the same way all our oth­er to-do-tasks are. Do not just accept a request for a meet­ing only because you had free space in the cal­en­dar when asked to con­gre­gate, but judge it by its impor­tance set in rela­tion to the goals you are respon­si­ble for, how urgent it is and what oth­er tasks you have to do.

Either turn down the meet­ings that are not a pri­or­i­ty at the moment, or accept the invi­ta­tion, but decide to meet some oth­er time.

If all meet­ings are impor­tant, jus­ti­fied and rel­e­vant to your work and respon­si­bil­i­ties, you might need to cut back on some of your com­mit­ments or del­e­gate tasks to some­one else. There is a lim­it to how much we can do and achieve by our­selves. And although that lim­it can be flex­i­ble, and you might stretch it to its break­ing-point at times, it is still there.

Do this
If you often feel that you are run­ning behind sched­ule and do not have time for all your engage­ments and respon­si­bil­i­ties since meet­ings are eat­ing away at your time, try one of the ideas men­tioned above. They are derived from real-life sit­u­a­tions expe­ri­enced by oth­ers I have helped through­out the years and who were also in des­per­ate need for time kept free from meetings.

The tips have all worked for dif­fer­ent peo­ple faced with dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, and even if they might not all be appro­pri­ate to you or your sit­u­a­tion, per­haps one of them will help you get the space you need in your calendar.

More time, less overtime
It is impor­tant to meet and dis­cuss things in per­son, but you have many oth­er tasks to do as well. If you cre­ate more space for oth­er things than meet­ings you will have time to do these tasks dur­ing your work­days instead of dur­ing evenings and week­ends. Per­son­al­ly, this gives me a greater sense of sat­is­fac­tion and well­be­ing, instead of feel­ing stressed and inad­e­quate when over­whelmed by all the tasks I have to fin­ish after work­ing hours — and I’m sure the same goes for you.

What suits you?
How have you estab­lished and main­tained a bal­ance between meet­ings and time kept free from meet­ings? Write a com­ment and share with oth­er readers.