Get More Done – 5 Tips for Reducing the Amount of Time You Spend in Meetings

One of my goals each month is to spend at least half a day catching up on industry and general business articles. Sometimes I succeed in keeping my calendar blocked, and I was pleasantly surprised this month when I was able to carve out enough time to read a Harvard Business Review article about our “scarcest resource” – time.

I agree with many of the points in the article, including the fact that we spend way too much time in meetings talking about doing a lot of things rather than getting a few things done well.

How can we carve out more time and make meetings more productive? Below are five tips that I recently shared with my team to help them free up time on their calendars to get more done.

  1. Review your calendar and analyze your reoccurring meetings. Can you decline some? Can you change some to every other week rather than weekly? Can you reduce the time to 30 min? 15 min?
  2. When you are the meeting organizer, create a meeting agenda that includes a clear meeting objective and include that objective on your meeting invite
  3. Don’t be afraid to decline a meeting or seek clarification on what your role in the meeting will be. If you are not needed, ask to be copied on the meeting notes that should be distributed after the meeting.
  4. Set aside 15 min each week to review your calendar for the following week and continue to be selective on the meetings that you accept.
  5. Don’t be afraid to end an unproductive meeting. Have a canned phrase that you can use to end a meeting. For example: “I’m getting the sense that we need to regroup. I suggest that we pause this conversation until we have a clearer direction for the purpose and objectives of what we are trying to accomplish.

Let’s keep the conversation going – please share any additional tips that you may have!

-Melissa Johnston