There never seems to be enough time in the day. Between work, family, hobbies and side projects, every day gets jam packed with events. But what can you do? Sleep less? Work harder?
Personally, I prefer to be as intentional with my time as possible. I try to make sure everything I’m doing is what I want/need to be doing at that particular moment, which is hard. Mainly, because there are so many things that I want to do. It’s something that requires practice.
That’s why I wanted to start this series #OwningMyTime. Here I hope to share tips and tricks to free up time and also, provide strategies to get the balance you wish to achieve with your daily life.
Edition 1: Meetings
According to Atlassian, of the average professional, 35% of office time is spent in meetings. Upper management is much higher. Of those meetings, nearly 50% are reported to be a time waste. Why? People may daydream, do other work, or some even sleep during this “useful” activity.
It’s projected that $37 Billion in salary gets spent on unnecessary meetings every year. That’s roughly $2000 per minute. This is a clear area to figure out where efficiencies can be had and to gain some of our time back.
You might not always have the choice of attending a well-run meeting, but you always have the choice to conduct one. If you run a meeting, you are responsible for the time of everyone in that room including your own. Your meeting is costing a lot of company money so it should be treated as such. Get good at this. It will have immediate payoffs:
Tips to Running a Meeting
Agenda – This is nothing new. Every site you will ever go to about running effective meetings always has this as a high priority. Always! Yet, despite this being so publicized, people tend to often forget. An agenda is an absolute if you don’t want to waste time. Also, sending it out beforehand helps others come prepared.
Roster – Spend a few minutes determining who should be there. Inviting nonessentials can be poisonous, and bring down the energy level. They can distract others or the person running the meeting by their disengagement to the topic. Can they be caught up later with a fraction of the time? Probably.
Time Frame (not too long) – Unless you are experienced with running meetings, don’t schedule more time than is needed. When you schedule an hour timeslot for a 30-minute conversation, it will almost certainly take the whole hour. Try changing your default meeting duration to 15 mins. Make yourself justify each additional 15 mins. You will probably find that you can get a lot done in 15 mins if you try.
Time Frame (not too short) – Don’t try to hit a strategic topic at the end of a weekly meeting. Few things are worse than cutting off an interesting and productive conversation to schedule a follow-up meeting in the future. If the topic needs 30 mins, schedule an Ad Hoc meeting specifically for this topic and save yourself the 15 mins on the tail end of the other meeting. Admittedly, this is a difficult one to master because it’s not always easy to identify the length of a topic until you start, but you should be able to identify this more often if you make the effort.
Prompt Start – If you are running a web call or you need a projector, it’s your responsibility to show up early and be ready to start. You didn’t schedule the meeting to let others watch you set up for it.
Prompt Ending – Be respectful of other’s schedules. If you determined the timeslot, you are accountable for it. If you need more time in the end, simply ask the others if you can extend the meeting. If everyone agrees, then there is no problem, but if someone needs to leave, it’s your responsibility to schedule a follow-up. Never assume that everyone can just hang around for the end.
I don’t think I have written anything profound but these skills are not widely practiced. Meetings can suck the life out of a day if not ran correctly, so the meeting facilitator is much more important than some give credit for. Unlike most things, time is a non-renewable resource, and when you set up a meeting, you have become responsible for that resource. Use it wisely.
I hope you enjoyed episode one of this series. I’ll be posting more soon but feel free to keep the convo going on social media with the tag #OwningMyTime. If you have anything you would like for me to hit in the future, I would love to know. Please leave me your thoughts in the comments below.