Too many meetings? Try these productive things instead

There are only so many hours in a day. And with a growing to-do list, it’s time to put those weekly meetings to the side. Here are 4 worthwhile meeting substitutes.

Empty workspace

There are only so many hours in a day. And with a growing to-do list, it’s time to put those weekly meetings to the side. 

Studies show that 67% of time spent in meetings is deemed “unproductive.” Think about all the meetings in your calendar. That’s a lot of time. Un-engaging meetings take employees away from work that can actually help your bottom line.

Our challenge to you: Skip one of your regular meetings this month, and encourage employees to try one of these productivity-boosting tasks instead. Here are 4 worthwhile meeting substitutes. 

Listen to your inner list-lover

Do you like saving time? Make a detailed to-do list for your team, and send it out via email. Boom. You just eliminated a meeting. No more sitting around, listening to action items that only apply to a couple people.

For those app-lovers out there, try collaboration apps to help you conquer your team’s to-do lists, like Trello and Basecamp.  This format works extra well for people who love crossing action items off lists. AKA everyone.

Send a message to stakeholders

Instead of an all-hands meeting, set up a time to communicate directly with the people who are working on a particular project. (In business speak, the stakeholders.) If you really want to update the entire team, wait until you’ve got the finer details out of the way. Then––and only then––should you tell everyone about your next steps and the ways that they can help.

Not only will this method free up meeting time, but it will also help everyone refine their to-do lists. No more scrolling through long email threads, desperately trying to figure out what action you should take. Instead you get one gorgeously short message, filled only with a brief update and how specific people can contribute.

What was that? The sound of saved time.

Expect the unexpected

Most people work on a few projects simultaneously. That can often lead to an overwhelming feeling. Relieve your employees by giving them some extra time to complete a task. One way to achieve this is to run a “sprint” of sorts. Here’s how it works:

Step one: Have everyone announce the project that they’re working on, what percentage they’ve completed, and what they can do in the next hour

Step two: Set two thirty minute timers, with a five minute stretch break in between

Step three: When you’re done, have everyone go around and say how much work they got done.

We promise, people will be surprised by how much they can achieve without distractions. Plus, they’ll have a little extra wiggle room for that moment when they need to extinguish an unexpected work fire. Curveballs are coming–– so you might as well be prepared.

Create space for creativity

Get ready for some real talk: Meetings kill creativity. We believe this so strongly that we even got designer Timothy Goodman to write it on our Notebooks:

Corporate routines can crush the imagination–– but you have the power to change that.

Next week, be the “cool boss” and replace a 30-minute meeting with time to work on a creative project. Give everyone free reign to draw, work on their screenplay, or whatever else scratches their creative itch.

For example, did you know that doodling improves people’s focus and memory? As Sunni Brown, the author of The Doodle Revolution says in The Wall Street Journal, “It’s a thinking tool. It can affect how we process information and solve problems.”

In other words, when people give their brain permission to switch gears, they create space for new ideas to come and hang out.

An added bonus

We want you to lead the most creative and meeting-free lives possible. That’s why we developed a “Meetings Kill Creativity” Chrome plugin, so you’ll never get stuck in an unwanted meeting again. Just click here to download and you’ll not be in your next meeting in no time.

Use Notebooks to crush those to-do lists.

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