How to stop back-to-back meetings

29th June 2021

There’s an obvious way to reduce your back-to-back meetings:

        Stop scheduling them back-to-back!

And that’s it.

You’re welcome.

Now it’s possible you’ve thought of this.

So here are some simple ways to help ensure this happens.

When you schedule a meeting:

  • Give yourself 5-10 minutes either side of it, with nothing else in the diary
  • Don’t schedule them for 30/60 minutes. Instead, use 20/40 minutes max
  • Don’t start/stop them on the half-hour. Example: yesterday, I had a meeting 9.10–9.25am

(I can almost hear people saying ‘that new-age thinking won’t work here, Andy”!)

When you’re invited to a meeting, consider one/some of:

  • Propose a new, shorter time
  • Say you can only make the first half – ‘so can we do Agenda Item 3 first?’
  • Decline, but ask for a 121 beforehand, so they get the info they need from you
  • Decline, when appropriate. Remember: it’s an invite, not a court summons

Back-to-back meetings are rarely a good idea.

When are you supposed to move, have a break, do something different?

But the great news is: you can do ‘more than nothing’ to change it.

Action Point

  1. Preview today’s diary. And, for any back-to-back meetings, do ‘more than nothing’ to change it.
  2. Click here

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