Three ways to improve the scheduling and quality of your meeting time
Business meetings have a way of creeping into the daily schedule of managers and employees alike. There are 25 million meetings per day in the U.S. alone which ties up 15% of your organization’s collective time. Of course, meetings are well-intentioned and meant to drive outcomes. Unfortunately, most meetings are unnecessary, unproductive, and negatively impact workday output.
Meetings are especially troublesome for creatives. Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, wrote one of the first articles to call out the differences between a manager’s and a maker’s (creative’s) schedule. He writes, “When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in.”
What is a creative?
Programmers, software developers, designers, and writers are all examples of creatives. They are the people who imagine, create, and develop something new for your organization. To them, meetings are the ultimate productivity killer. The constant starts and stops throughout the workday act as barriers to the creative process.
Imagine having four one-hour meetings that are spread throughout the day. For example, they are scheduled at 9 am, 11 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm. Add in the meeting preparation time and the best-case scenario is that you will have four 30 minute blocks of time to get any real work done. That doesn’t cut it for creatives who need larger blocks of time to do any deep work.
Why meetings are so ineffective
“Creative flow doesn’t always happen in cooperation with standard office hours,” notes Ron Edmonson. Nor does it always accommodate standard operating procedures like the traditional business meeting. There are many reasons why meetings fall flat including stale content, disorganized agendas, and distracted participants. Shared information bias is another issue that often stops new ideas in their tracks.
Three ways to make meetings creative-friendly
Poor scheduling and ineffective meetings cost businesses billions of dollars a year in lost productivity. Don’t let meetings hijack your workday. Consider making these changes now to improve the scheduling and quality of your business meetings:
- Enforce limits. Research shows that attention spans fall between the 10- to 18-minute range yet most meetings are scheduled for an hour. Instead, try scheduling for 15 or 30 minutes and focus team efforts on a single topic or issue. Other creative-friendly scheduling ideas include setting aside one day a week for meetings or only putting them at the very beginning or end of the day to minimize
- Eliminate unnecessary meetings. Carefully consider the purpose of a meeting before scheduling one. If the intent is to simply inform your audience about a new policy, send the information out in an email. Or try something more creative and make a video or write a blog article so that creatives can digest the information in a time that best fits their schedule.
- Try a new format. Make it a standup meeting or use technology to keep participants engaged. For example, digital whiteboards or wall-sized displays turn boring sit-down meetings into idea Prepare and follow a well-organized agenda that starts and ends on time.
Innovative meeting format: Masterminds. Use meetings as a way to pair up team members for coaching and support. This can be a valuable time to celebrate achievements, discuss top challenges, and brainstorm solutions.
Maximize your creatives’ productivity
Research shows that most meetings are a waste of time because they are ineffective and stale; in fact, they even impact your creatives’ overall work productivity. Choose your meetings wisely to minimize daily interruptions. For easy, efficient scheduling of meetings, use automation such as Asure Software’s full-service Meeting Room Scheduling solution. Finally, make necessary meetings more active and productive by setting limits and using new formats that engage creatives.