Your days are busy and everything on your list can be difficult to complete. You finally made progress on a task when a meeting reminder broke your focus again. You don’t know how to finish what to do today and it will likely be another waste of your time. Is that the way it is or is there a better way?
According to The HR Digest, professionals lose an average of 31 hours per month in meetings – the equivalent of roughly four working days, or a total of two months per year. That’s a lot of disturbance, especially when these meetings don’t really bring much benefit. The problem isn’t just an overabundance of meetings. It is that so many of them turn out to be bad meetings. However, you don’t have to settle for bad meetings that disrupt your work and affect productivity. Big meetings are possible with a little forethought. Let’s look at one of the first steps in this direction: determining the need and type of meeting.
Here are five filter questions you can use to coordinate important meetings:
- Is this meeting necessary? There is a well-known literary advice for writers: “Kill your darlings.” That said, don’t get too attached to the plot, especially if it doesn’t serve the bigger picture. The same applies to meetings. It’s too easy to get caught up in a series of meetings that don’t matter. Keep the levers that support important goals. Eliminate the rest and your team will thank you.
- Are you sure you are necessary Too often we blindly accept the endless flood of meeting invitations. It is natural to think that our presence in a meeting is always necessary, especially when we have been invited. But that’s not always true. Protect your schedule and only say yes when you really need to be there.
- Who else should be involved? When organizing a meeting, think about who absolutely needs to attend. Remember, smaller groups can be aligned more quickly to make a decision. Relevant information can later be passed on to the masses via email or project management update.
- What kind of meeting do you want? Think in advance of what type of meeting will help you achieve your goals. Setting this early on will make the purpose clear and the conversation won’t meander so your time will be productive.
- What is the correct format? In the past, face-to-face meetings in companies were the norm. But these days we all practically meet in some way, and face-to-face meetings are no longer the default. It takes deliberate thought to determine what is best for your team and what format is best for what you want to achieve. If that’s personal, great. Otherwise, your favorite video conferencing app will work great too.
Take control of your meeting habits. Regularly ask yourself: Is this meeting necessary? If not, be determined and eliminate the meetings that don’t matter or affect your productivity. Make the most of your team’s time and resources by focusing on high leverage things and you will see less frustration and better results.