Mondays aren’t usually the favorite day of the week for nine-to-fivers. How can we make them a little better? Certainly not by scheduling a meeting. Or worse, the meeting to talk about some future meeting! “No meeting Monday” is my personal mantra, and one that should be embraced in offices around the country. I’m not always successful with the No Monday Meeting, but minimizing meetings that day has been very effective in my overall weekly productivity.
However, it’s tough to let go of those meeting crutches. A problem pops up? Schedule a meeting. An issue seems like it’s going to take longer than three minutes to solve? Schedule a meeting (i.e., push it off until later). Need some great ideas? Schedule a meeting to discuss them. Let’s have a meeting to talk about our meeting before our client meeting!
It’s the go-to response, and we’re all on autopilot. In some situations, a meeting might very well be the best solution. However, it shouldn’t be the automatic response. Ask yourself a few questions first to see if a meeting is necessary–if it is and it’s Monday, meet the next day or later in the week. You and everybody else should already have an overly full plate since the week is just kicking off.
- Start by asking yourself if you’ve thoroughly thought about the situation.
- If not, schedule time for yourself to think strategically about it.
- If you have, ask yourself if outside input is necessary.
- If not, schedule time for yourself to do the work.
- If it does need outside input, ask yourself if a real-time conversation is necessary.
- If not, send an email or Slack/HipChat/Chatter message (everyone will thank you).
- If it is, ask yourself if meeting in person is necessary.
- If not, consider a video chat or another option.
- If it is, now you can schedule that meeting.
In other words, stop bothering people when you don’t have to.
This decision tree is pretty simple, but what if it’s not as easy as a yes or no response? The idea of thoroughly thinking through a situation can be subjective. If you don’t have clarity, it’s alluring to schedule a meeting so that others can do the thinking for you. However, this is inefficient for everyone. You need to buckle down yourself and get brainstorming. This strategic thinking time can help you evaluate the project, the status, and the goals and come up with a plan.
Even if you know what needs to happen, this isn’t the time to schedule a meeting, because you don’t need outside input to progress. Spend some time reworking your task list. If at this point, you really need questions answered or some input, a meeting might be logical.
Let’s Get Together!
If you do require a meeting, keep it short. I’m a big fan of the 15-minute meeting. I use a productivity tool called Calendly, which allows me to connect my calendars to schedule meetings. I have a 15-minute option, a 30-minute option, and my least favorite, the 60-minute option. Another option on the market is a tool called GigaBook. I’ve also used TimeTradeand a tool called X.AI to help schedule meetings. Zapier has a great postwith other meeting tools.
According to research by Toggl, maker of an employee productivity tool, September is a great time to think about ways to be more productive. After the unproductive summer period, more and more people are turning to Google and looking for new productivity tips, experiments, and tools. Cutting down on meetings at the start of your week can be a good turbo-boost to the productivity you need.
Make use of technology at hand. A real-time conversation is often not required. Email can work, online chat, video chats, Slack, or even text. Maybe sharing some documents in Google Docs can solve your problem. Sending items via email so everyone can look at them on their own time is usually more efficient.
Finally, if a meeting is necessary, make sure you plan it well. Time is precious, so please respect yours and others’ time.