It's a common problem in the professional world. People call meetings to share information and ideas or to have the team brainstorm solutions or opportunities. Meetings, as a construct, aren't intrinsically bad. But their ubiquity can be a real burden and distraction from actually getting work done. Looking for guidance on how to keep your schedule open and productivity up? We got your back!
It's not easy to decline meetings after you've already accepted the request. So, before you hit that 'accept' button, consider taking these steps.
You know what's on your plate: everything you have to get done today, this week, this quarter. Ask yourself what the most important things on your plate are. The things that will come up in your performance review. The things the company and your team are counting on you to get done.
Make the most important things your priority by allocating the right amount of time and attention to them!
2. Play a little calendar defense.
Your time is valuable, not just to you, but also to your business. If you feel like you're wasting time by attending too many meetings, then you might want to play some defense of your time. Before the start of each week, block off large chunks of time on your calendar to get work done. (PRO TIP: Block off the times you're able to be most productive.) Think of it as scheduling a meeting with yourself!
3. Make sure you're essential to meetings before you participate.
Sometimes colleagues will invite everyone who might be tangentially related to a project or topic, in the interest of sharing more widely. Just because you're invited doesn't mean you're required to attend.
Before you hit 'accept' on that invitation, check in with the host of the meeting to request an agenda and ask explicitly whether they think you need to be there. You'll be surprised how often the meeting organizer will give you the opportunity to pass so you can focus on your priorities.
4. Be present wherever you are.
Okay, so you've taken some proactive measures to get ahead of the game. Now you need to be a team player because it's not just about you. Sometimes your team needs your input, expertise, or effort to accomplish their priorities.
When you're in a meeting, truly be in that meeting. Pay attention, participate, and engage with the discussion. Make sure you are fully focused on the task at hand so that others are equally respectful of your time. (If you're multitasking, it's just an indication that you didn't really need to be there.)
If you're not in a meeting, focus on whatever it is you needed to prioritize over that meeting! Don't just use that time for doomscrolling or wasting time when you could have been helping out the team.
While questioning your necessity at meetings may feel a little awkward, you will set yourself up for success by making your workday more efficient.
Looking for a partner to help with productivity hacks or team-building? We'd love to help!
Photo source: www.canva.com