This week has been incredibly hectic between the preparations for the launch of the new enterprise mobility platform, my session at the Cloud Computing Expo and the normal work with Tellago customers. Knowing how crazy this and the next few weeks were going to get, I decided to go through the exercise of removing a few meetings from my calendar to be able to stay focused on the core things my team needs me to.
When doing that, I was shocked at how many unnecessary meetings made it into my schedule. The shock comes because I am pretty obsessive about prioritizing and focusing on the most important tasks at hand and not wasting any time in unnecessary meetings. My assistant is incredibly efficient about organizing most of my meetings in 15-20 mins intervals and filters the ones that we don’t consider important. Still, my calendar for the next few weeks was looking ALL BLUE L !
How did this happen? Well, I guess I was a victim of one of the worst syndromes of corporate America: work about work.
What does that mean?
Well, it’s not a secret that most companies tend to organize unnecessary meetings to discuss almost anything. While the collaborative dynamics that you can accomplish in a meeting are certainly productive, most of the problems we allocate meetings for are easily solvable with a couple of phone calls and a few mins to think about the problem.
From my standpoint, the over meetings phenomenon is part of the physiologic DNA of corporate America. Meetings tend to make people feel busy; feel that they are involved or taking control of a situation even is the situation is a ridiculous one. Similarly, when spend hours or days without being pulled into meetings people start feeling not important
Whether you work on a startup or in a Fortune 10 company, spending your workday in unnecessary meetings prevents you from having the time to focus on the real problems, to do REAL work J. Even worse, in my opinion, 60-70% of the decisions we are presented with during meetings can easily be addressed in 10-20 mins if the required parties just took the time to think about the problem at hand.
Having said all this, we still have to deal with weeks packed with meetings so we better have some strategy of how to deal with it. In my opinion, there are a few tips that might help you be more productive and deal more efficiently with unnecessary meetings:
- Organize the meetings in two buckets: The ones that address core issues of your business and the ones that don’t.
- Allocate discrete amounts of times during the day to those two types of meetings
- Try really hard to keep meetings to 10-20 mins top. This is even more important for the meetings that don’t focus on the core issues.
- If the meeting is really important, take the time to prepare for it and maximize your chances to make it productive.
Regardless of how crazy your day/week might look like, make sure you are spending your time doing real work and not working about work :)