The simplest way to create a huge amount of extra time, for you, your colleagues, and your wellbeing! Helping you to stop working your evenings and weekends, and getting your life back.
Do you suffer from ‘Compacted Diary Syndrome’? (CDS) Is your typical day now just a series of back to back video calls? Do you find yourself struggling to even get the time to think? - let alone pee!
I empathise with you. For many years in corporate life, working from home, and having endless demands on my diary from all directions of the organisation, I have suffered with you! (I suspect I was also often the cause!) The mix of formal committees that need preparation and attention, and the need to spend time in small meeting groups, or one to one sessions, all seem to override the personal need to create space and time to do the work that these meetings generate.
I suggest that ‘Compacted Diary Syndrome’, CDS, is increasingly common as more of us work from home, and casual conversations fall away, creating more need for more one to ones. This may be positive, as one business leader recently said to me, “I now talk to my team members far more than I ever did before lock down.” Yet the downside for everyone can be the simple fact that they never leave their home desk, and end every day exhausted and disheartened about their working life.
Here is a simple solution. To make this work – you just need to be bold. It will also help if the business leaders adopt this and lead the way. Wouldn’t it be great if a CEO picks this up and asks all their teams to adopt this technique?
This simple act could create an extra two week’s time in the working year for a typical employee holding just ONE meeting a day. An employee who has CDS and has blocked time from 9am to 5pm every day could actually gain over two hours of time every day, which equates to over 10 hours a week, effectively another very long working day! And over a year this could equate to an extra 15 Weeks of time!
So, this is the technique:
1. Start every meeting at 10minutes past the hour, and...
2. Finish every meeting at 10 minutes before the hour.
This simple principle provides 20 minutes in an hour! Every hour – for every employee tied up in a meeting.
I suggest that giving everyone ten minutes before a meeting will improve the effectiveness of the meetings, allowing team members the time to prepare, and even just go to the loo! It allows time to find the log in details; review the agenda; check the actions; and simply get in the right headspace for the meeting.
Giving everyone ten minutes at the end allows everyone time to compose their notes; get quick actions done; and allocate time for tasks. The meeting effectiveness should rise considerably, and things should be getting done.
This action is so simple – yet so difficult to achieve. Why do we all have meetings that last an hour? Why do we all start our meetings on the hour, or perhaps at half past? The challenge of course is that if you cut a meeting to just 30 minutes then someone might ‘spot the slot’ in your diary and fill it up with a back to back ‘quick chat’...I just suggest that this is far less likely in what is see as a 10 minute slot either side of the hour
To make it happen leaders need to show the way. Anyone who might call themselves a boss could make this happen today. Action: Just go through your diary and adjust all your meetings to start at ten past the hour, and to finish at ‘ten to’ the hour. If for some reason you feel that those extra 20 minutes are crucial – well you could just try the ‘ten past’ rule to begin with – and see how that goes.
To make meetings more effective there are of course a whole series of other techniques... all for another time.. Go on – give it a go – and create the gift of time.