Back in 2005 I stopped going to meetings.
Before my husband (of only a few months) divorced me.
I didn’t ask for my boss’s permission to stop attending meetings and I’m not sure what I would have said if he had questioned me as I didn’t have data to back up my actions.
But the reality was – my days were back to back with meetings and whilst, in the recent past, I had been happy to work late and at weekends to keep on top of the actual work that needed to be done, I resented that time now.
I didn’t want to be working late when I’d spent most of my day in meetings that I neither contributed to nor gained value from.
I’d got into the habit of accepting all meeting invitations without really considering their purpose or value.
I suspect is was down to FOMO even before that became a thing!
So I stopped going to meetings.
Well, I stopped going to meetings that didn’t add value or I didn’t bring value (which was quite a lot of them…).
I’d read through the purpose and agenda of the meeting before deciding if I needed to be there.
And if this wasn’t part of the invitation (often there was an agenda but no clear purpose) I’d ask for it.
I’d also ask the organiser how they specifically saw my role at the meeting.
And often that response was “well it was really just to make sure you knew what was happening”
In these cases I’d ask to be copied on the action points from the meeting but politely decline attending the meeting.
The amount of time I was spending in meetings dropped by half.
There are only a certain number of hours in a day.
Waiting for your company to create a policy or guidance around the number of virtual meetings everyone is attending?
That may take another 3 months of you spending every day in back to back meetings, burning the candle at both ends to get your work done.
You don’t have to wait.
You can take control of your diary and create hours in a day.
The right time to do this is now. Not tomorrow or next day.
To help you, download 7 ways to take back control of your diary and reduce the number of meetings by 50%.