Get More Time in Your Day by Setting Hard Meeting Stops
Time is one of those things that we can all use more.
An appointment or a phone call, especially in work situations, can easily stretch out into the allotted time, taking time away from the next task on your calendar, and ultimately leads to the fact that you do not have time to finish those last few tasks that you have planned … day. Or leave you at the office for a few extra hours to finish.
A few years ago, I started to adhere to the “hard stop” mentality in most of the meetings and calls I have had. Inspired by some of the people I interviewed who said they had a “hard stop” after 14 or 30 minutes, the practice makes it so that you know that what you are doing has a final ending time and you will be standing. in front of you to get what you need. complete the work within the allotted time.
When you tell someone that you need to leave the meeting after a certain amount of time has passed, that person puts more effort into getting to the point. They arrive on time, ready to start your meeting or chat, and everything happens much more efficiently.
In contrast, when I just showed up at that meeting at 10 a.m. without setting a hard end time, often the person I met would still meet with the reporter in front of me, pushing our meeting back until 10:05 or 10:15. The first 10 minutes will be filled with this person drinking coffee or water, checking the secretary … all that.
In the end, most of the meetings that should have taken me less than 30 minutes lasted over an hour because there was so much unnecessary activity going on around them. Having said that I had a hard stop after just 30 minutes, everything worked much more efficiently.
Should I be somewhere in 30 minutes? Sometimes yes, sometimes the next place is my desk or where to eat. It’s all about dictating how much time you spend on something so that it doesn’t take up most of your day because it can.
If you want to stay longer in this meeting, of course, do so. But by setting the limit ahead of time, you also give yourself a great opportunity to leave if you need to, and reclaim the minutes or hours of the day that you might otherwise have lost.
Fast Company published an article this week in which MessageBird’s COO made a similar proposal. Her suggestion is simply to set boundaries for what you can do. Determine how much time you have for something, tell people what they are, and stick to it. And take some time for yourself. You deserve it.