Summer’s in full swing, which means it’s peak time for beach days and long weekends full of grillables and frosé. But managing a full day of meetings can be the blocker to an early Friday departure or taking a much-needed vacation day. There’s no worse feeling than staying around until 5pm on a Friday to sit in a meeting you didn’t really need to have. It’s time to take back control of your calendar and enjoy these last few weeks of summer!
Meetings certainly have a vital place in our workday – they’re where project blockers get solved, deals get closed, and collaboration leads to ideation and innovation. But there are a lot of inefficiencies in a workday of meetings, particularly because not every meeting is necessary! Fridays tend to fill up with meetings as things get pushed throughout the week, and all of a sudden you’re fully booked. Next time that happens, consider the following questions to help give yourself or your team some time back this summer.
1) Is this meeting still productive?
We know routines are hard to break, but this one is worth looking at. People often join recurring meetings because it’s what they’re used to even if the meeting is no longer helpful. Whether it’s a team status meeting or a 1:1 with your manager, consider if you really need the meeting to be your most productive that week. Don’t go just because you always do, consider all your workload and your priorities. If there are no progress updates, or you don’t have anything new to share, don’t meet just for the sake of meeting! Be sure to keep track of consistent cancelations too. If it’s been a few weeks in a row that nobody has needed to meet, that meeting has officially gained a reputation of being unproductive and may need to come off the calendar altogether!
2) How much time does this meeting need?
A meeting on the calendar for an hour or more deserves a lot of scrutiny. If you’re efficient and effective at prioritization, you can get A LOT of work done in that time. So don’t just go because it’s what your calendar says. If you’re running the meeting, break it down into an actionable agenda, and evaluate if the highest priority items can be completed in 30 or 45 minutes instead. Share the agenda ahead of time, so everyone knows what’s top of mind and first on the to-do list. If you’re not running the meeting, don’t be afraid to ask the same of the meeting host a few days ahead of time. Getting that conversation going beforehand can help shave time off or even eliminate the meeting altogether if it’s not everyone’s priority that week.
3) Can this be solved over chat?
Sometimes people ‘grab time’ on your calendar to talk through a topic that might not require a full 30 minutes of talking through. If the outcome of the meeting is simply to ask or answer a few questions, it can definitely be accomplished another way! Try reaching out to the person earlier in the week and sharing your thoughts or answering questions proactively. You can send a 1:1 or group message over GoToMeeting business messaging, then ask if there’s anything further they need to discuss. A few “back-and-forths” from there throughout the week can easily drop a 3pm call off your Friday afternoon calendar.
4) Can I just record and share it?
If you have a meeting where you’re presenting to a group, we’ve got a great hack to get that done earlier in the week. Using GoToMeeting’s smart meeting assistant, you can record yourself talking through the presentation earlier in the week then share the link out to the group to view. We guarantee you’ll get through the content quicker than in a live meeting. Set some expectations around when you’d like people to view it by and how you’d like to receive questions or feedback. They’ll be thankful that they got the time back, and can prioritize it into their workdays. Then when you’re back on Monday, start a group chat with the same people, drop the recording link in there again, and proactively start a discussion about what you shared. That’ll help keep the content top of mind and drive engagement.
5) Can I take this meeting on the road?
So you’ve gone through the steps above and realized your 4pm call is a must-have. That still doesn’t have to stop you from getting a jumpstart on your Friday commute! You can still beat the traffic and have a productive afternoon. If you’re driving somewhere out of town, take off on your lunch break, and do your afternoon work from a coffee shop on the way to whatever summer fun you’ve got planned. Our GoToMeeting mobile apps bring you the same collaborative features you use from your computer; you can even screen share from your iPhone or Android. So you can still have an extremely productive meeting, even if you’re at a small-town coffee shop halfway to your friend’s lake house!
Use these tips starting today to take an evaluative look at all the meetings on your calendar. You can balance your work week, re-prioritize what’s most important, and get more done without sacrificing your summer fun. There’s only a few weeks left before the weather starts to turn and school starts again, so don’t let work get in the way of your winning streak at cornhole!