In one way or another, we have all been there. You complete an-hour long meeting only to find out that you were only needed for the last ten minutes, or not at all. After that, you are required to attend another meeting, and possibly another one after that. While you are in all these meetings, your head is thinking about the job deadlines you are supposed to meet before the end of the day.
Meetings are vital but they can block you from attending important tasks and can be unavoidable. So how do you stay productive in a day full of meetings? Here’s how:
1. Prioritise on Important Meetings
First, you need to consider the necessity of attending each meeting. Some meetings do not necessarily require you to be present. If your presentation or task can be shared through email, Skype call or phone conversation and be able to achieve the same outcome, then you might consider asking to be excused.
2. Reset Time Limits and Impose Punctuality
Setting a time limit for some of the tasks can help you stay on track and focus on the most important priorities. You might find out one hour for a weekly team meeting is too long and that 30 minutes is still sufficient to address the important issues. If you are still able to achieve the same results within a shorter time, then, by all means, go for it. The important thing is to encourage team members to be punctual. If you spend 10 minutes waiting for late colleagues, the wasted time could have a negative effect on your overall productivity.
3. Involve Your Boss if Necessary
Meeting your targets is your first priority at your workplace. Failure to do so might leave your boss questioning your ability to complete tasks and your leadership skills, even if it is because of important meetings. To avoid this, you need to involve him/her. Explain the situation you are in and ask for help prioritizing the tasks and list of meetings you have. Your manager will guide you on which meetings are essential and which ones you can skip completing your other tasks.
4. Multitasking Will Only Make Things Worse
You should not only care about your concentration during a meeting, but also the other attendees. Trying to do something else during a meeting will probably make the meeting last longer. You will make your team have to wait for you to catch up or repeat themselves. You will only be task-switching instead of multitasking as you call it, and it might take longer to finish two projects when you’re jumping back and forth than it would take to finish each task separately.
5. Delegate to Your Team
Delegating some of your tasks is a great option to ensure that more tasks get done in less time. Sharing responsibilities with your team can be an effective way to get your things done in a day full of meetings and will also build team capacity. Some meetings do not really require every member of your team to be present, so you can use this to free up some of your time. This will also give junior staff some responsibilities hence raise their profile and experiences in company meetings.
If you are a team leader, avoid organizing a meeting unless it is absolutely essential. Find the alternatives of getting ideas from the team by using a suggestion box or an online forum. And if it is a quick review or catch-up, email can be an effective alternative. Distractions at work are enemies of progress.