I mentioned in a previous post that I am just now discovering the world of podcasts. I have listened to a few that have been okay, but I found a real gem of a podcast yesterday. The series of podcasts is called Manager Tools. The two gentlemen that are featured on the podcast are both graduates of West Point, and they have a wide variety of military and civilian managerial experience. Their website can be found here.
The particular podcast that I listened yesterday was focused on time management, specifically time management as it relates to meetings. Many people have back to back meetings. This is impractical as it does not allow for any time to transition between meetings which generally means that all meetings start late.
How did we get stuck on the concept of hour long meetings? It is likely due a programmer at Microsoft that made an hour the default setting on Outlook. Should our meetings last an hour? I would argue that they probably should not as you need to have some time between meetings to physically get to the next meeting or to mentally change your focus.
Why not manually change your meetings to 45 minute meetings? I doubt very seriously that you cannot accomplish what you need to in 45 minutes. Our meetings last an hour because we know that is how long we have.
You should have an agenda for your meetings. You should limit the participants. You should keep people on topic. You should document all action items and send out a recap. These are all good practices, but they can be challenging for folks to get into the habit of doing. Changing your hour long meetings to 45 minutes is not challenging at all. It is a very easy habit to pick up and it gives you back 25% of your time.
Think about the repercussions of this. It will give you time to transition between meetings and then all of your meetings should be able to start on time. This is a time management revolution that I want to be a part of. I am going to change all of my hour long meetings to 45 minute meetings.
What so you think? Is this brilliant or crazy? I will let you know how it works out for me. If you are tempted to try it yourself, then please let me know how it works out.
Check out the Manager Tools podcasts, I have only listened to two of them, but they were both top notch. If there are any other podcast you really like, let us know.