After four huddles dedicated to time management this December, it became very clear that enemy number one is meetings… Too many meetings, too many unproductive meetings, and not enough time to do “real work.” To save you time, here are six ways you can make your meetings more productive in 2022. The idea here is to attend 20% fewer meetings and make each meeting 20% more productive—freeing up at least 90 minutes a day for whatever makes you wiser, healthier, or happier!
Schedule Fewer Meetings
If meetings are the problem, why not have less of them? Several huddlers have a monthly “meeting purge” with their teams. The idea is to go through all your recurring meetings (as well as those that just come up) and decide how many of these meetings you can do without. To purge your meeting list, you’ll need to establish reasons for having and rejecting meetings. Like, say, a policy that says if there’s no agenda, there will be no meeting.
Run Better Meetings
One tip most CMOs consistently recommended: Every meeting must have an agenda in advance with a desired outcome stated. Ideally, these are related back to the top departmental priorities. Every one of these meetings should end with assigned actions with established next steps with timelines. To do that you need a designated meeting note-taker. If you don’t have an EA for your department yet, now is the time to get one.
Have Shorter Meetings
Several CMOs are setting a default limit of 25 to 30 minutes for every meeting. Once CMO makes their team petition to justify an hour-long meeting. This puts even more pressure on the meeting organizer to have a clear agenda that can be accomplished in the 25 to 30 minutes allocated.
Set No-Meeting Days
Several huddlers set “no-meeting Fridays” to leave time for other productive activities. Another approach is to have all your recurring meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday—leaving Monday and Friday more open for other types of work. Some have even taken this one step further, closing the company for a day each quarter so that the whole team can be off and recharge at the same time. This saves everyone from coming back to an inbox filled with internal emails, too.
Walk and Talk
A couple of CMOs like to have conversations with their direct reports when they are out on their daily walk. While usually The Cut does not support multitasking because we as humans are better mono-taskers, this is one multitasking activity that actually works. One advantage of walk and talks is that the conversation can be free-flowing. For example, the walker can share something they just observed and then perhaps relate that back to the issue at hand.
Reclaim Your Commute Time
If you’re among the many who allowed your former commute time to be turned into meeting time, reclaim that back and block it off on your calendar. Some CMOs simply block off before 9AM and after 5PM, just to make sure they have some quiet time to think. The bottom line is: If you don’t block off your calendar for at least two hours a day free of meetings, you are going to be working an extra two hours a day.
Final thought: One huddler offered this profound observation, “You can’t outwork this job.” Let’s make 2021’s meeting mania just a mere memory. Cheers to 2022!