Do you have too many meetings? Here’s how to reduce

Too many meetings in your schedule means low productivity with all your other work. You can really learn how to reduce your meeting workload and make your meetings a success.

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Dozing zoom? Tiredness? Exhaustion? You may be hosting, attending, or leading too many meetings.

In some cases, a video or email can substitute (you can align ideas, explore solutions, and even plan the next exercise).

The likelihood of having more than one unnecessary or time-consuming gathering each day increases when we have too many meetings on our schedule. Remote work doesn’t mean you’re far from encountering miasma.

Fortunately, there is something you can do. You’ll spend your time on more productive projects with the support of your teammates. Why do you meet too much?

First, let’s explore the why of too many meetings

Why is your weekday filled with phone calls, Zoom meetings and huddles? Many explanations exist for why you can’t do anything – and the main problem seems to be that you and your team are constantly in meetings.

One way or another, the corporate world has developed a practice of inviting everyone to meetings. And luckily, there’s been enough information collected now that you know to only invite them if you think you need to include them. Too many meetings will be about anything and any job an employee is working on. This goes for gatherings when you are not the meeting host or coordinator.

We sometimes assume we’re just being courteous and covering all bases by inviting everyone – but wasting time by having too many chefs or attendees in the kitchen (or meetings) doesn’t benefit anyone – including yourself .

If someone invites you to a virtual meeting and your first thought is, “I don’t need to be there,” let your employees take charge and decline. As an employee, you’ll want to message the host expressing your choice not to attend and ask if they’ll update you with a “summary” of the talking points afterwards. If the meeting host or coordinator agrees, great!

However, some coordinators become a bit sensitive to requests for meeting notes – so be careful.

Some sessions must be conducted differently

For example, perhaps the meeting should have been an email, a quick phone call, or an instant message. Too many team members within your company are wasting time on poorly planned meetings that might have worked better in another medium.

Unnecessary gatherings per day

We understand that the number of confabs you have each day varies depending on your title or position within the company. For example, superiors should perform one-on-ones and project syncs that last 30 minutes to an hour. You have managers and team leaders who have similar constraints.

No matter who you are, don’t go over 3-4 meetings a day and keep them short. Also consider your productivity. Ask yourself if you work better in the afternoon or in the morning. Avoid scheduling meetings during your most productive times.

Avoid too many meetings

Follow these four ways to avoid attending a million meetings a day — or at least cut the time.

1. Cancel meetings without an agenda

2. Cancel if they haven’t posted meeting times two business days in advance

3. Skip asynchronous communication for meetings – all communication should be real-time

4. Shorten All Meetings

As the boss, you’ll want to make sure those rules apply — and everyone in the business will do better if you play by your own rules. So prepare your agenda in advance and share it with your employees. Make sure all attendees are prepared with talking points, questions, and quick descriptions of their situation. It helps to ask that all questions and descriptions be written down (this saves more time than you might imagine).

Without a plan and a detailed understanding of your work, a meeting may not be necessary.

With an easy-to-use meeting agenda creator, everyone feels motivated to attend.

There’s probably a time when you and your team are most productive – don’t hold a meeting in the middle of your most productive times.

Some people do most of their work between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. So you know it’s in your interest and for the well-being of your to-do list to block off a “no meeting” period before lunch.

This historical period could be vague. Mark “Busy” on your calendar and other team members will know not to schedule any time during this time.

Another way is to set aside one day a week for meetings and have none on the other days. Let meeting organizers know that you only attend sessions on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. This way you will maximize your productivity on other days of the week.

Determine if you allow asynchronous communication

Some teams see using asynchronous communication as a better way for them. Try it if it works – and if not – skip it and make other rules. Some teams work with Slack or Outlook in real-time communication, and these are solid communication tools that work (along with others you can find online).

Communicating with your remote team can be challenging, but understanding the differences between your office team and your remote team can increase productivity in both groups. Synchronous communication is communicating now, in the present, such as in face-to-face meetings, Zoom sessions, or phone conversations. These may be the only type of communication that works well for your particular team.

Your asynchronous communication via email, instant chat or project management platforms may be the best solution for your team. The latter often saves time by eliminating the need to arrange anything. The team can then communicate at leisure without interruption. This strategy is beneficial if your teammates are in a different time zone.

Conclusion — Now or Never

If all else fails, be like Douglas Shearer – a Hollywood screenwriter who avoided boring lectures by keeping a tarantula on his shoulder. He was never invited to the meetings.

Maybe you should try something similar.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Rodnae Productions; pexels; Thanks!

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