More Productivity When I’m Not There

Meetings are a pain in the rear for many managers and leaders. Why do we default to meetings during the work week?

  1. There’s comfort in crowds. We just feel better with other people in the room as we try to work through an issue or reach a decision.
  2. We default to outdated business practices. We’ve been having meetings for centuries. It’s just the way we do business that has been passed down from generational leader to leader.

10 Business Meetings that Will Waste Your Time | Time Management Ninja

Have you been to meetings with no agenda, too many attendees or someone reading information like its story time? Check out these and seven other meetings you should avoid to stop wasting your time. According to the post by Craig Jarrow of Time Management Ninja, most workers attend 62 meetings per month. That’s too much time away from higher value-added activities.

I use these five ways to avoid ugly meetings. I define an ugly meeting as one that doesn’t serve the purpose of making a decision with the smallest use of company time, talent and energy.

  1. Say no! – This is my first line of defense. I tell the meeting organizer that I’m booked solid and can’t attend the meeting.
  2. Recon the agenda – I ask for a detailed meeting agenda with the list of attendees, the decisions that need input from me, and the date, time and location for the meeting. I skip meetings that don’t have a robust agenda.
  3. Insist on changes to the agenda – If someone persists in asking me to attend an unproductive meeting, I’ll insist on more information in writing about what we hope to accomplish. Usually they don’t get back to me.
  4. Get a sub – I find a capable stand-in who will take great notes and give me a fantastic yet concise summary of everything I need to know.
  5. Leave early – If the meeting organizer is my boss or someone else in authority who insists on my attendance, I’ll look for an opportunity to slip out of the meeting to take an important phone call, real or staged. You need a great assistant for this tactic.

Worthless, ugly meetings are a drain on everyone’s productivity. If you must have a meeting, please have a rock-solid agenda and purpose for meeting. What tips and tricks do you use to avoid ugly meetings? Add your comments below.

Michael Shelton helps busy professionals get their life's work done as a productivity consultant and the owner of Shelton Business Services, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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