According to a recent study sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the
amount of time employees spend in meetings has increased by 13% during the pandemic.
I didn’t think it was even possible, but yes, our calendars are filled with 13% more meetings as we work from home. With the inability for a 5 mins drive by conversation or a quick chat over lunch, we have scheduled our way into a meeting straight jacket.
Here are 3 quick ways to decrease your meetings by at least 20% each week (that is one out of five days saved!)
1. Proactively Decline Your Calendar: Every Friday, block 30 mins to review your calendar for the next week. Find meeting that you can decline or send your deputy to, orcombine with another meeting. It is amazing how many meeting owners will react by sending you a concise email or by moving the meeting out a few weeks. And if it is really important, they will call you and beg for a meeting…that just doesn’t happen often!
2. Make your One-on-Ones Count: When you review your meetings, how many are with your team? I am a believer the majority of meetings can be cancelled if you use one-on- ones to think proactively and not reactively. Don’t spend one on one time talking about what has been accomplished. Instead, focus on what needs to be achieved in the next two weeks. This provides the direct report with a runway to get things done over thenext two weeks, without scheduling a ton of meetings with you for buy in!
3. Create Project Captains: Instead of delegating tasks on a project, delegate the entire project. Take time in the one on one to help your new captain think through the steps to complete the project and proactively think through potential roadblocks. Then, send them to run the meetings, collaborate with others, and report back progress to you during weekly one-on-ones.
Now, what do you do with your “free time”? You become a proactive, visionary Fire Chief who can effectively influence change and coach their team to victory. For many of us, this could mean increasing our strategic behaviors, influencing skills, and coaching capabilities.