If you felt like your meetings were starting to flag in 2018, there’s no better time to revitalise your schedule to become more productive and to ensure no time is wasted.
Take a break
Research shows that the most productive employees take a short break around every 50 minutes. While it may seem counterproductive to take 15 minutes out when you have a lot to do, it’s actually beneficial to “recharge your batteries” and resume work again feeling refreshed.
One New Year resolution should definitely be to take more breaks. The best option is to move away from your desk and go for a walk, to avoid the temptation to do anything work-related, such as checking your emails. Increased productivity will mean you spend less time working late and at weekends, giving you more leisure time.
Scrap pointless meetings
It’s too easy to get swept up into a meetings culture, which can cloud your judgment. If you sit and think about the meetings you’ve held in the past 12 months, were they really all crucial – or did you host some of them because you felt you must, as it was your regular time for a get-together?
Make a resolution to call a meeting only if you actually need one and refrain from creating any that have no focus and waste people’s time. You’ll find staff will appreciate this more, rather than being dragged to a meeting that seems to serve little purpose. When drawing up an agenda, pledge to communicate clear objectives and your desired goal before you begin, so that everyone’s on the same page.
Length of meetings
Resolve to set the length of the meeting to a sensible timespan that will cover all the points concisely, without letting the meeting spiral into endless debates that go round in circles. If you make a mental note that you want to cover the agenda in less than an hour, for example, resolve to stick to it.
Reserve this time to develop initiatives, resolve issues and interact with colleagues in a creative manner. If a review of existing issues is required, with nothing new on the table, let colleagues email the information to you, rather than having everyone sitting around the table again to go over old information.
Before every meeting, resolve to prepare privately in a proper manner, so that when you arrive, you’re not undertaking last-minute preparations in front of attendees. As the host of a meeting, you’re responsible for ensuring it’s run effectively – and this means being up to speed with the business in hand before it begins.
In the same vein, resolve NEVER to arrive late with the attitude, “What did I miss?”, as nothing is more unprofessional than leaving other delegates feeling you’ve wasted their time when they have to go over old ground for your benefit.
Try something new – one idea is “no meeting Fridays” when you enable employees to work right through the day without being summoned to a meeting. Even though meetings have a valuable place in the working week, if staff know they have one day clear, they can plan their schedule to complete tasks that might otherwise mean they have to work late.
In an ideal world, no-one wants to work late on a Friday night, or do unofficial overtime on a Sunday because they didn’t have enough time to plan for the week ahead, as it can damage morale.
Use of technology
Resolve not to use your phone or tablet during a meeting unless you’re doing something productive that directly relates to the meeting or the business in hand. Don’t start checking your emails in case you’ve missed something, as you may become embroiled in dozens of messages that are nothing to do with the agenda.
This will mean you’re side-tracked from giving 100% attention to the meeting. Having said that, email has its place in relation to meetings – for example, if the only reason some delegates are attending is so that you can tell them results or figures, ask yourself if their attendance is necessary, or whether you can let them know via email instead.
These New Year resolutions can all be put under the umbrella of one huge personal resolution – and that’s to stop suffering in silence if you think your working life could be more productive and even more enjoyable!
Now is the time of year to take stock and put a stop to practices that you feel are hindering your progress, so sit down and write yourself a list of things to do, making sure 2019 gets off to a flying start!
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