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Do you have too many meetings? Here’s how you can cut back

by Ana Lopez
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Too many meetings on your schedule means low productivity with all your other work. You can really learn how to reduce your meeting workload – and still make your meetings a success.

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Zoom sleepy? Tired? Exhaustion? You may be organizing, attending, or leading too many meetings.

In some cases, a video or email can take the place (you can tune thoughts, explore solutions, and even plan for the next fiscal year).

The likelihood of having more than one pointless or time-wasting meeting each day increases when we have too many meetings on our schedule. Distance work does not mean that you are far from meeting miasma.

Fortunately, there is something you can do. You will spend your time on more productive projects with the support of your teammates. Why do you get together too much?

Let’s first look at the why of too many meetings

Why is your weekday filled with phone calls, Zoom meetings and huddles? There are many explanations for why you’re not getting anything done – and the main problem seems to be that you and your team are in constant meetings.

Somehow, the business community developed the habit of inviting everyone to meetings. And luckily enough information has been gathered now that you know to only invite them if you think you should include them. Too many meetings are about anything and everything an employee is doing. This applies to meetings when you are not the meeting host or coordinator.

We sometimes assume we’re just being courteous and covering all bases by inviting everyone – but wasting time by having too many chefs or participants in the kitchen (or meetings) isn’t good for anyone – either for yourself.

If someone invites you to a virtual meeting and your first thought is, “I don’t need to be there,” let your employees take charge — and decline. As an employee you want that send a message to the host to express your choice not to attend and ask if they would like to keep you updated by sending a “collection” of talking points afterwards. If the meeting host or coordinator agrees, great!

However, some coordinators get a little sensitive to requests for the meeting minutes, so be careful.

Some sessions need to be run differently

For example – maybe the meeting should have been one email, a short phone call or an instant message. Too many team members in your company waste time on poorly planned meetings that might have worked better in a different medium.

unnecessary meetings per day

We understand that the amount of confabs you have each day varies based on your title or job within the company. For example, the higher placed must complete one-on-one and project syncs that take 30 minutes to an hour. You have managers and team leaders who have similar limitations.

No matter who you are, don’t have more than 3-4 meetings a day — and keep them short. Also think about your productivity. Ask yourself if you work better in the afternoon or in the morning. Avoid scheduling meetings during your most productive times.

Avoid too many meetings

Follow these four ways to avoid attending a million meetings a day — or at least shorten the time.

1. Cancel meetings without agenda

2. Cancel if they haven’t posted meeting times two business days in advance

3. Skip asynchronous communication for meetings: all communication must be in real time

4. Shorten all meetings

As a boss, you want to make sure these rules apply – and everyone will do better in the company if you follow your own rules. So make your agenda on time and share it with your employees. Make sure everyone in attendance is prepared with discussion topics, questions, and quick descriptions of their circumstances. It’s helpful to ask that all questions and descriptions be written down (this saves more time than you can imagine).

Without a plan and understanding of your work in detail, a meeting may not be necessary.

Immediately user-friendly meeting agenda maker everyone feels motivated to participate.

There is probably a time when you and your team are most productive – don’t schedule a meeting in the middle of your most productive times.

Some people do most of their work between 8 a.m. and noon. So you know it’s in your best interest and for the good of your to-do list to cut some “no meeting” time before lunch.

This historical period may be vague. Mark “Busy” on your calendar and other team members will know not to schedule time during that period.

Another way is to set aside one day a week for meetings and no other days. Inform meeting organizers that you will only be attending sessions on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. This way you maximize your productivity on the other days of the week.

Decide whether to allow asynchronous communication

Some teams consider using asynchronous communication as a better way for them. Try it if it works – and if it doesn’t – skip it and make other rules. Some teams use Slack or Outlook for real-time communication, and these are solid communication tools that work (along with others you can find online).

Communicating with your remote team can be difficult, but understanding the differences between your in-office team and your remote team can increase productivity in both groups. Synchronous communication is about communicating now, in the now, such as in face-to-face meetings, Zoom sessions or phone calls. This may be the only type of communication that works well for your specific team.

Your asynchronous communication via email, instant chat or project management platforms may be best for your team. The latter often saves time because nothing needs to be arranged. The team can then communicate at their leisure without interruption. This strategy is useful if your teammates are in a different time zone.

Conclusion: now or never

When all else fails, be like Douglas Shearer – a Hollywood screenwriter who avoided boring story conferences by keeping a pet tarantula on his shoulder. He was never invited to meetings.

Maybe you should try something similar.

Featured Image Credits: Photo by Rodnae Productions; Pexels; Thank you!

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