As you can tell, I’m still thinking a fair bit about the concept of gatherings since the topic at hand today is about having productive meetings.
At work, there’s rarely a day goes by without a meetings. Although essential at times, I find that most meetings can be a huge waste of time.
Even though most of them only run for about a ½ hour - they all add up and by the time you know it, it’s already time to head home. When you have back to back meetings, you barely have time to clear your head and digest information from the previous session before you hop on to the other meeting. You don’t even have time to get some work done, let alone take a toilet break! Most of us end up ‘clearing’ a backlog of work at the end of the day, or at night when we are supposed to be taking the time to disconnect.
Interestingly, everything I’ve written in the past started linking up:
In ‘The Power Of Batching
’ - I advised everyone to be selfish with their time, and put their meetings together so that they’ll have more time to focus on their work instead of having to run in an out of meetings every ½ hour!
In ‘1 Project / Day
’ - I advised folks to designate days specifically to focus on a specific project, and days specifically for meetings to take place.
Once these have been implemented, you should already have a decent calendar that doesn’t seem too cluttered. So how then, do we make it even better, and make full use our time gathered?
1) Have an agenda prepared beforehand. Send a reminder to the team 1- 2 days before the meeting to get them to populate it with topics. Nothing to discuss? Cancel the meeting and take 30 -60 minutes of your time back!
2) Have a rotation system, where teammates take turns to facilitate the meeting and another to take notes (so as to avoid pushing / avoiding responsibility / volunteering) which will waste precious meeting time.
3) Structure your meeting document in this way:
FYI - Just for everyone to take note of, no discussion needed unless there are questions!
Discussion Items - Items the team needs to discuss together, and have to make a decision on
Action Items - Stuff discussed during the meeting, assigning owners and due dates to action on
This structure really helps the team be focused on what truly warrants a discussion, and what action items are needed.
What do all of you think? Do you all spend a lot of time in meetings, and how do you structure your meetings? As always, I enjoy reading all your replies, so do continue to share your perspectives!
Till next week!