Meetings in real life are vital to learning, co-creation and social exchange. But, do you sometimes feel like you are spending most of your day in meetings? Maybe you have questioned the effectiveness of some of the meetings you are attending?
I certainly spent a huge portion of my day in meetings when I was an employee. When starting my own business, I assumed I would be in a great position to clear my diary for meetings to a larger extent. Why shouldn’t I, I was running my own business, right?
Guess what, I soon found myself in a situation where I was filling my diary again. There were networking meetings, breakfast meetings, getting back in touch meetings, planning meetings, exploratory meetings, workshops, seminars, Skype check ins, webinars, lunch ‘n learn sessions, let’s meet and see meetings and more…The time I tried to fence for content creation and own reflection often came short to meetings where I felt other people had expectations on me.
I just knew I had to find a way to take more charge and honor meetings with myself. Numerous hints and tips from management gurus on using calendar entries for my own time, countdown alarms or 15 minute interval spreadsheets to monitor my own time didn’t help, in fact those techniques just made my time management seem more fragmented than ever. I recalled one of my previous managers who always challenged me on the purpose of any meeting, but I found it too blunt for me to implement in my new environment. You should be open to opportunities, right?
It wasn’t until I did a visualization exercise with my coach that I understood what could work for me. I had to visualize my perfect day, how it can be split into different sections, allowing me to quickly understand which meetings I have to attend, meetings I might attend, and most of all meetings I want to attend. Including those with myself.
It took me a while to understand my own criteria for accepting or declining meetings on a perfect day, but it has helped me feel a lot better in managing expectations to others. It has simply put become easier to decline meetings without much ado. I’m not experiencing the ideal working day every day, but I know what I’m stretching for and feel great when I recognize it.
What are your criteria for accepting or declining meeting invitations? What would your ideal working day look like if you took fully charge of your diary? And finally, what would you do more if you reduced the hours spent in meetings?