What if someone told you that you could expand any given year from 12 months to over 13? What would you do with the extra newfound time? Perhaps give half to Team leadership and half to more strategic priorities for the benefit of the organization or enterprise? Time and focus are such valuable commodities today that investing time in the pursuit of saving time can pay personal and professional dividends manifold.
And when looking in the organization for opportunities for time recovery, one must first start at the executive’s largest area of time use in any given week, the meeting. Not long ago I was having a conversation with an executive client on this topic who mentioned that about 65% of their time was consumed by meetings. An article from the Harvard Business Review states that “the average executive spends 23 hours a week in meetings”, and that doesn’t include impromptu gatherings.
1- Recently, Microsoft discovered from evaluating calendar data that in one of their large business units, leaders and contributors were spending 27 hours a week in meetings.
2- Their research found a direct correlation between employee misery and “meeting bloat”.
Interestingly, after careful study, they discovered that an overcrowded meeting schedule with too many people was considerably more draining than challenging bosses, challenging assignments and significant travel. As an added byproduct, meeting-filled calendars tend to produce higher levels of work-life-balance strife. Individuals must use evenings and weekends for much needed solo time.
Over the years I have utilized an assessment called the Time Mastery Profile. It is an instrument that offers feedback about how an individual can increase their time management effectiveness.
As you would guess, Meetings is an area of time mastery that is often identified as one of the top areas of potential time recovery. When the right people are in the right meeting for the right reasons and the meeting is run well, there’s nothing better. Long live the necessary, effective meeting!
So, if the average executive could save or recover one hour a day throughout the year, the result would be a gain of over one month per year. The organization would realize a performance increase and the executive, including those they lead may experience a more enhanced quality of organizational life.
1. Irwin, Neil. (June 2019). “The Mystery of Miserable Employees: How to Win in the Winner-Take-All-Economy.” Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/upshot/how-to-winneil-
2. Leslie A. Perlow, Constance Noonan Hadley, and Eunice Eun (August 2017). “Stop the Meeting Madness.” Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/07/stop-the-meeting-madness
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