If you spend 4 hours a week in meetings, 2 hours 39 minutes of that is wasted time.
Put another way, in a one hour meeting of six people, four man-hours are wasted.
If Time really was Money, meetings would be the first place you would look to cut these losses. Instead we put up with them as part of working life. So you accept the meeting invite, go along and do some emails at the same time. And so does the person next to you. In virtual meetings it’s even easier to multi-task undetected.
As a hard-pressed individual, you feel like you’re winning back time for yourself – it’s good time management. But as a team, you’re wasting a whole lot more.
So what’s the solution? Be purposeful about meetings. You need to make best use of that scarce resource – Time.
1) Don’t use meetings just to pass information. Think of those man -hours as if it was Money – is a meeting the best use of that resource?
2) Send out an agenda with the meeting invitation – state an objective, which should be restated before the meeting and reviewed at the end. This allows people to decide if they need to be there and you can check whether it was successful.
3) Keep it short. Just because Outlook works in 1 hour chunks doesn’t mean you have to. How about 45 minutes, which is about as long as you will hold people’s attention. Or 30 minutes?
4) Write and issue short notes. These should follow the agenda, summarise the decisions and list any open points. Anyone who couldn’t make the meeting can read the notes instead.