One CEO is encouraging SMEs to limit meetings to twice a day

The more hats you wear at work, the more meetings you’re expected to attend, according to Kris Duggan, the CEO and co-founder of BetterWorks.

However, research from the Centre for Economics and Business reported that office workers spend an average of four hours per week in meetings. Not surprisingly, these same workers reported feeling like half of that time is wasted. Additionally, a Salary.com survey claimed 47 per cent of workers said meetings were the top time-waster at the office.

That’s why Duggan has tried to limit the number of meetings he schedules and he maintained that fellow small-business owners should follow in his footsteps.

Each day he would schedule off blocks of time where he wasn’t allowed to attend meetings, and then he would worm two in if he could.

“I find that by giving myself uninterrupted time, I can think beyond the most pressing issues and really focus on my long-term stretch goals,” he said.

The same goes for department heads, who get to choose a day of the week to keep meeting-free.

“I know when I’m attending meeting after meeting, my mindset shifts to become task-oriented versus thinking critically and novelly,” Duggan said. “Attending meeting after meeting forces you into checklist mode. When you’re running a business, at least part of your day has to be devoted to the future of the company and meeting ambitious goals, and unless every meeting remains focused on those things, it’d be impossible to achieve everything at the same time.”

Related: How to save the world from bad meetings

Goal setting and alignment are crucial according to Duggan, and “limiting the number of meetings I have in one day ensures I stay free enough to meet my goals. The way I organise myself each quarter, month, and week is to define my top goals and priorities and avoid getting sidetracked with extra projects and meetings that take away from those bigger things.

“For example, some of my goals for this quarter are to finish a proposal to get a book I’ve written on Goal Science published, complete operational planning with leads for 2016, and hire a world-class CS leader. If I don’t give myself meeting-free, uninterrupted time to work towards these goals, I put the company at risk.

“It can be inspirational and helpful for you to be present on meetings,” he added, “but if those meetings aren’t productive, it’s a bad use of valuable time.”

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