I’m absolutely positive that there are plenty of us out there that spend their day going from meeting to meeting. This meeting culture is an unfortunate result of spending our time in small rooms and worse it sets the expectation that having a full calendar equates to productivity reflecting on my own value within an organization.
For a long time meetings were my complete work day and the irony is that the people that expected me to produce work also sent me to meetings that I was required to attend. Soon the meetings came in groups. My hours of work time became double and triple booked. For a long time I accepted this as just the way it was and I chose which meeting to attend out of the three I was invited to. My average morning was meeting triage. Now let’s take a step back. Considering that I have a specific role and several expectations of me, how will being triple booked for meetings all day make me effective? It won’t. It doesn’t.
Let’s think about it for a second. I never took a step back to think about the situation, because being triple booked for meetings put me in survival mode just to get through my day. It wasn’t until I changed roles that I had a chance to think about how I wanted to work. There was a new kind of time being introduced into my schedule…thinking time. Time to do work outside of meetings is important, but time to think about what you are doing and why is more important.
Meetings are lazy because I don’t have to think about the intent. I just show up. Not having meetings forces me to think about what to do and the best way to go about it before seeking out others with specific goals and intent. Acting and speaking with passion comes easy. Acting and speaking with intent is hard because it requires us to be deliberate and think about the outcomes we want.
Scheduling a meeting should not be our first choice and unfortunately I find myself inviting people to meetings just as often as I get invited to meetings. I don’t have a bulletproof alternative for meetings, but the first step is to understand that a meeting is not the best choice. We need to give ourselves time to think about intent and outcomes so we can choose a better way to collaborate with the people we work with. A better way to work means that we are then able to do better work.