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Don’t let meetings kill your productivity

by Susanne Barth, on Nov 9, 2020 4:43:12 PM

By Susanne Barth, Publications Manager 

Opening your Outlook calendar on Monday morning is sometimes frustrating. You see a lot of meetings scattered throughout your week and you are wondering when you will get your real work done. So how to make sure that meetings won’t kill your productivity - especially if you have only gaps of 30 minutes or an hour in between?   

So first reflect on what you normally do while having those breaks: Do you check and answer emails, make a few quick calls, grab a coffee or go through papers you already had once in hand?

There’s nothing wrong about all this. Of course not. But if you consider having for example three meetings a day with a gap of 30 minutes each then you spend already 1.5 hours without making any progress on important tasks. Probably with the result that you have to work long hours to catch up. And if you even take a long term-perspective - for example over three months or half a year – summing up the time “lost in between” you see that this can easily backfire on your productivity.

So here our tips to remain the master of your time:

1. Start the week with forecasting what you really need to accomplish. Make a classification of your major and minor tasks.

2. Identify the gaps in your schedule and determine what you want to accomplish during each gap. This can vary from complex tasks to easy quick tasks like handling emails, doing travel planning or preparing your note of expenses. 

3. Focus on your top tasks especially if you have only short times between meetings to work. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t work on more complex tasks during a shorter period of times.   

4. Drop the perfection. Stay focused to make a good job and to get things done. Learn from your past experiences to optimize your time and to assign deadlines to each task.

5. Hold yourself accountable for achieving your major tasks by looking back on your planning at the end of the week and note which tasks you’ve accomplished.