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The value of not being in meetings

“I do my best work when I’m interrupted every 30 minutes for a meeting—said no one ever.” - Ellie Huizenga

Getting work done when you are constantly interrupted by meetings is challenging. Even more challenging when those meetings are people taking time away from you and your business to pull out information and advice from you and not helping you with your goal and mission for your business. That is why I guard my time on my calendar and have started implementing a no meeting time regularly into my schedule so I can spend time focusing on the responsibilities that require deep thinking, like long term strategy, team planning, and cross-functional processes.

But how do you ensure that you have time? It is easy to see open space on your calendar and think I have time for one more meeting. But if you want to be international about having time to dive deep and work interrupted on your business. That open space may look open but it actually isn’t. Solution, block off regular chunks of time so that you can work on those projects that need to get done.

Don’t allow your “open space” to be eaten up by not being filled in with the project you plan to work on. Recently, I have implemented putting chunks of time on my calendar with a set purpose to focus, complete projects, or get caught up on emails and other aspects of my business I easily put off. Having this time allows me to see that my “open space” is not open for meetings but instead to get work done. And while sometimes things come up and I have to adjust, setting this practice allows me to get more done.

And while I am working my way up to create space for no-meeting weeks. The reality of having a whole week without meetings isn’t feasible in my business. And I would guess most small business owners would feel the same. But even though it may be difficult you should be able to set aside at least one day a month to not have meetings, maybe even once a week.

And if you think it is not possible to not have meetings here is a little encouragement. Zapier recently did a company-wide no meeting week. All internal meetings were canceled and instead of weekly update meetings in person the information was sent through email or slack to their supervisor. 80% of participants met their goal for the week and 89% found communication to be as effective as with meetings.

“A week without meetings gave me space for more curiosity and experimentation, encouraging me to look at the problems we are trying to solve from a different angle. For me, a meeting-less week was far from a meaningless week.”

And while we can’t get rid of meetings entirely. Maybe we can limit the number of meetings we have each week and be intentional about our time to ensure that we can get all the goals on our to-do list completed each week.

So, who is up for trying a week/day/4 hours of GSD? I call it get Sh*t done. I currently block in chunks, but man…a whole week would be glorious.

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