I just got a gift: 45 minutes

The greatest thing just happened. Someone booked a meeting for 90 minutes and the meeting ended in 45 minutes. So I was given a gift of 45 minutes with nothing scheduled. If that doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, it only means one thing; you are not in meetings all day long.  For me, it was a huge break in my day.

I am in a meeting from the moment I arrive until the moment I leave. As an example, on Monday my calendar looked like this:

8:30 – 10 AM

9:30 – 11 AM (Yes, I was double booked for 30 minutes)

11 – 11:30 AM

11:30 – 12:30 PM

Noon – 12:30 PM (Double booked again)

1 – 2:30 PM

1 – 2:30 PM (Double booked again)

2:30 – 3:30 PM

3:30 – 4 PM

4 – 5 PM

4 – 5 PM (Double booked again)

5:15 – 5:45 PM

5:30 – 6 PM

6 – 6:30 PM

My meeting calendar has gotten so bad that I’ve begun scheduling 15-minute meetings. Get in. Get out. Made a decision. Move on. While very efficient, it’s not very personal.

I have tried to keep every day from noon – 1 PM free from any meetings to allow myself time to meet with people one-on-one. But something always pops up.

So I have to start doing something differently. I need to stop scheduling meetings in my office, as there are days when I never leave my personal space. I need to get off my backside and walk around a bit more.  But mostly, I need to insist on shorter meetings. A shorter meeting will mean more holes in my schedule and more time to do other things.

Now you may be thinking – “I have an idea, I’ll book Rich into 60 minute meetings when I only need 15 minutes, and I’ll be a hero.” Please don’t. That only means that I’ve schedule other people on other days to provide you with 60 minutes.  So now while I may have a few minutes free today – tomorrow is shot to hell.

And I do want to compliment two people who have figured out the how to get in to see me without an appointment. One person shows up at 5 minutes before the hour or 25 minutes after the hour hoping that what ever meeting I was in ended 5 minutes early. And virtually 100% of the time he’s right.  The other person has taken the time to book lunch with me once every few months. No agenda. No bitching. Just lunch. And I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a real lunch and a real break in the day.  I’ve had three lunches outside of the office in 2013. Two have been with her.

So, what did I do with my 45 minutes?

1)   Had a phone call with a freelance team about an upcoming project.

2)   Spoke to a client about a workshop I’m hosting next week.

3)   Met with three creatives about a new training program.

4)   Did my timesheets.

5)   Approved expense reports.

6)   Went to the bathroom.

7)   Answered 17 e-mails (By the way, I get hundreds of e-mails a day).

8)   Met with a member of the account team about a competitive campaign.

9)   Registered for a seminar.

Oh, and I did one other thing.  I wrote this post. But now I have to go, I don’t want to be late for my next meeting.



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