Say no to infinite meetings
We should never, never, never, never recover the time spent in infinite meetings from our free time and our private lives.
Let me tell you a story about infinite meetings.
Many years ago, at the beginning of my professional career as a site technician, I would have killed to be called to meetings.
I considered it a matter of status. If I was included in production meetings, cost meetings, safety meetings… in my mind it meant that my colleagues were considering whatever I had to say.
It made me feel good. Who doesn’t feel good to have his opinions taken into consideration? It made me feel integrated, and why not recognize it, it also fed my ego.
As time went by, the meetings started to become more frequent. Several days a week at first, every day in a second stage, and finally several meetings in a single day.
As the frequency of the meetings increased, and therefore the time consumed in them, my time available for really productive tasks decreased.
And these “really productive tasks” are one of the main issues here.
We often excuse ourselves by thinking that in meetings we are also working. That may be true for the first half-hour of the meeting, but if the thing gets longer and the meeting lasts 7 or 8 hours, the story is quite different.
This 7 or 8 hours is not an exaggeration. On more than one occasion I have lost a full day’s work in a meeting, with lunch in between.
When this happens, when you lose part or all of the working day in a meeting, often you have to get your productive time back by stealing from your free time and staying in the office until late at night.
With the consequences that this brings to your personal life.
As icing on the cake, often in these long meetings, at the end of the day, a conclusion is reached that had been put on the table during the first half-hour, or worse, no conclusion at all was reached, the whole day is lost and another day of long meetings is on the way.
Over the years, my eagerness to be called to meetings has moderated, especially when I smell that these meetings are going to be extremely long. My ego is not satisfied, but my personal life is grateful.
So, if anyone with decision-making power in terms of conducting business meetings reads me, please take into consideration the following issues:
· Business meetings should be fully justified and the team should not be brought together with the only excuse of “seeing what comes out of here.”
· Meetings should be scripted, easily approachable, and not longer than half an hour. After that time, dancing gizmos appear in my head, distracting me from the meeting.
· Meetings don’t have to be attended by everyone. The more people called together, the more difficult communication will be, and the longer the meeting will take. Let’s make sure we call only those stakeholders we need to be present.
· We should never, never, never, never recover the time spent in infinite meetings from our free time and our private lives. It is the most valuable thing we have, and we cannot sell it as cheaply as the mismanagement of someone else’s time.