Terrible meetings

After writing about how people after 40 should reduce their workweek to three days recently (if you haven’t read it, here is the link) >> I realized that something very practical about the topic came my way while ago.

In fact, I wrote a blog post to my work colleagues in CSM about this back in 2016. The ideas are becoming more and more relevant, because how many of us are running crazy, trying to balance work, family, friends, sport, some time for ourselves? And, how many of us can proudly say that we juggle all these with success? I am pretty good in some weeks and quite bad during others. Of course, we all have (I hope…) some strategies how to deal with lack of time. Let me share something powerful that I recently came across.

Some meetings are not so bad! Doing business in Tunisia was always highlight for me.
Some meetings are not so bad! Doing business in Tunisia was always highlight for me.

Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the U.S. He has worked in the book publishing industry for most of his career. Nowadays, he runs his own company and writes bestselling books and blog about leadership, personal development, productivity, platform and publishing.

One of his free e-books is called ‘Shave 10 hours of your workweek’. The title sounded first to me like a kind-of-american-hard-selling-stuff (nothing personal my US friends 🙂 but the content is really cool. Some of the topics he talks about we are aware of, of course, and some we even do ourselves. However, he writes in a crisp and clear way, nicely summarizing four strategies “how-to” in a well-structured, short book.

Let me share just one example – there are many more. This one about everyone’s favorite topic: meetings.


Of all the time killers in our workweek, meetings are probably the worst. Even effective meetings take a toll, but in my experience there are far more bad meetings than good ones. Either the meeting organizer isn’t prepared, the meeting objective isn’t defined, or you can’t really affect the outcome one way or the other. Meanwhile, each meeting we attend pushes our productive work further into our margin.

This sets up a bad cycle. Because we have to accomplish our productive work, we try to take it with us into our meetings. We answer email, try to finish reports, do prep for the next meeting, and so on. Someone once told me that he appreciated his company’s monthly business review meeting because he was able to process two or three hundred emails during the time.

During any particular meeting you can count on no more than fifty percent engagement by the participants, based on what I’ve seen over the years. In fact, according to a Harris-Clarizen poll, only two in five employees are not trying to multitask their way through meetings.

The end result is that unproductive meetings become even more time-consuming and unproductive. So what can you do to get back your time?

First, cancel standing meetings that no longer add value if it’s in your power to do so. Nothing is so appreciated by employees than a canceled meeting. Do it a couple of times, and it’s almost as welcome as a three-day weekend. If the meeting isn’t adding the value necessary, be a hero and kill it.

Second, challenge meetings that others have scheduled if you no longer believe they add value. Every meeting should have a clearly stated objective and a written agenda. If you don’t have these two minimal items, or they don’t line up with the desired outcome, push back. There’s nothing wrong with killing other people’s meetings if they’re not worth continuing.

Third, consider or suggest alternatives to meetings. Sometimes we default to meetings even if they’re not the best solution for the team or the project we’re trying to address.

Fourth, cut—or recommend cutting—the length of meetings. The longer the allotted meeting time, the more likely it is that time is being wasted. Try cutting meeting times in half and see if you can still accomplish what needs doing.

Fifth, stop attending low-impact meetings. If the content of the meeting is irrelevant to you and your job, or if you don’t feel that you really add that much to the discussion, ask to be excused. And in some contexts you can just excuse yourself. What are you waiting for? Be you own hero!

Source: Michael Hyatt – Shave 10 Hours off Your Workweek

What do you think? To get the e-book is very simple, you need to register with your email address here: Shave 10 Hours and then download. As mentioned, there are other useful strategies and tactics, some of them fully under our personal control. Note that I am not getting any kick-backs here, just sharing what I found useful.

Have a read for yourselves, enjoy and let me know. Which tactics do you like to use from today? Every day? Every week? Which meeting should we cancel first?!

Have a great day!

PS: my work-life balance seems to be in order these days – balancing freediving, fitness, time with the family, riding dirt bikes with friends and building my online platform. At least 3 days a week! Not able to refrain from sharing the image that speaks for itself.

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