The worst are those with no or a shallow agenda. Time is soaked up and the thing that suffers is output. Yes, what we actually produce. That bug fix, that improvement to a report, that time saving in the customer service team that might squeeze one more home visit a week, to manage arrears or monitor ASB.
We do get hung up on keeping on top of email, keeping and looking busy. This week I was in a very unstructured meeting that wasted a good four hours of my time. Also cost the customer half a day when nothing really useful was generated.
Some meetings are important, but should always be called for a reason. While a regular 20 minute meeting to check and co-ordinate schedules might be quite valid, a meeting every fortnight to chew the fat in my opinion isn’t.
When will people realise it’s not about how many hours you put in it’s what you produce that really matters.
Threes and thirds feature a lot in my life. For photographic composition, the rule of thirds is a fundamental way to make images more interesting. Nature likes thirds and threes, so does the human brain. Famously, Steve Jobs always structured his presentations around just three big messages. That's all that most human brains can get their selves around. We are wired like that. No wonder we all bought an ipod, iphone and ipad.
I find it useful to just pick three things from my to do list each day that I aim to achieve. Always hardest first. That one provides maximum reward and output.
Email can also wait. It’s tempting to reply to everything as soon as it comes in. Resist that temptation, particularly if it was not sent just to you. In my book if you are only in the CC: or BCC: box, you are only important enough to know about it, not need to reply to it. So let it wait, read it later, (or maybe not at all in some cases).
Now, what to do with meetings? I would prefer to conduct them all on moving bicycles or at the very least standing up. Chairs make you too relaxed and extend the whole affair. Have a strict agenda and keep it to a maximum of 30 minutes. Another tick is to hold them before or after normal working hours. You stretch a little more out of your staff and they will be less inclined to stretch a meeting if it’s eating into their own home time.
There you go, rant over!
Related Post: Is re-badged software the bane of your life in #ukHousing ?
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(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk
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