Do you worry about how to be productive when your typical work days seem to be full of meetings?
Here are some tips which will help you to more productive despite this inevitable ‘obstacle’.
1. Ensure you are needed. We tend to say ‘yes’ as a ‘knee-jerk reaction ‘ when invited to a meeting. But check first that you are able to contribute something worthwhile; don’t automatically assume that the person calling the meeting has given enough thought to the profiles of the attendees. Also, if you are only expected to contrilbute something towards the end of the meeting according to the agenda, agree with the chair person to attend later.
2.Use shorter time scheduling periods. We tend to arrange apppontments and meetings at half hour intervals; think about getting more out of the hour by arranging to start and finish meetings at quarterly hour intervals. Extra windows of 15 minutes can be used effectively for very quick tasks such as answering short emails.
3. Get organised to take advantage of small windows of time. To take advantage of fifteen minutes of new-found time as mentioned in the last point, you will need to re-organise your daily to-do list in such a way that your small and quick tasks are grouped together so you can immediately see which ones you can do.
4. Do not fall into the trap of mult-tasking. Multi-tasking is to be avoided at all times as it has been proved to undermine productivity and create stress. If you try to do other things in the meeting when you think that the point being discussed is not very relevent to you, you risk alienating your colleagues and the meeting is likely to last longer than it should due to explications having to be repeated unnessecarily. Not following a topic of discussion with full focus and attention also inhibits insightful thinking which could have led to the suggestion of new ideas to solve issues etc.
5. Make the meetings work for all concerned. Too many meeting agendas are vague and what’s even worse, these meetings end with no decisions taken about next steps with tasks assigned to specific indiviudals. Make an efffort to ensure that the objective of every meeting is achieved or at least has moved forward with the identification of actions with deadlines and personal accountabilty for each task.
6. Disappear if necessary. If you tend to get invited to a lot of unnecessary meetings at the last minute because your desk is very visible, try working elsewhere at those times when you need to really concentrate and be productive. If you’re not around, perhaps someone else will be invited to the meeting in your place instead of you..
7. Involve your boss.If you really are falling behind in your work due to too many unproductive meetings you may need to speak to your boss to explain the situation and ask him/her to help you prioritize your tasks and also help you decide which meetings are important and which ones can be missed.
Post adapted from article by Gwen Moran.