When we last spoke I was coming off of a week where I spent 24 hours in meetings and felt like I was fighting to find the time to get my work done. I decided that I wanted to try an experiment where I would cut my meeting load in half while attempting to increase the productivity and quality of the meetings that I was in.
My plan was to try the following:
- No more long update meetings
- Task updates should be done in basecamp and read before getting together. If there is nothing to be discussed we don’t meet, if there are problems to be solved or other collaboration is required we do.
- A meeting should be to solve a problem or collaborate in a specific way
- It should be narrowly focused with a short duration and goals
- Shoot for 20 minutes
- Make it a chat rather than a “meeting”
- Don’t be afraid to cancel or bail
- If there is nothing I can add to a meeting I’ll gracefully bail out. If there isn’t a problem to solve I’ll recommend cancelling.
Overall I’d say the plan has been successful. I’ve gained time in my schedule back from meetings. I was trying to cut my meeting time in half, and I didn’t come close, but I would say I saved 20% and I think there is still a lot of time to be saved from ‘update meetings’. It turns out people really love to spend time sharing what they’ve been up to. It’s an innate human drive. But when our time together is limited, as ours surely is, we want to make sure that our collaboration time is spent on solving the big problems. We can all keep up to date via Basecamp (which is what it’s for) and make sure our face to face time is spent on the big things.