When should we meet?

No one likes meetings. They’re often plagued with inefficiencies. But when you have to have one, what part of the day would you most prefer to sacrifice?

I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days as I send out meeting requests. When I ask myself this question the answer is almost always “the very end of the day.”

This got me thinking about how I’d ideally lay out my day, which got me thinking about the structure of an ideal week, which lead me to this:

Monday – Thursday

Friday

 Hour

Email

Meetings

Email

Meetings

9:00

Off

No

On No
10:00

Off

No

No
11:00

On

No

Yes; short or long
12:00

No

Yes; short or long
1:00

No

Yes; short or long
2:00

No

Yes; short or long
3:00

Yes; short only

Yes; short or long
4:00

Yes; short only

Yes; short or long


Monday thru Thursday
:

  • No meetings before 3p
  • No meetings longer than 30 minutes
  • No reading or sending new email between 9 and 11a

Friday:

  • No meetings before 11a, but after that they can be any length of time

Why prohibit email before 11a?
This block of time would be dedicated for Most Important Tasks (MITs) and other tasks that may require greater concentration or a longer stretch of uninterrupted time. How many times have you arrived at work with the best of intentions to tackle that thing that’s been nagging at you, only to open your email and get sidetracked until lunch? “If you put them off to later, you will get busy and run out of time to do them. Get them out of the way, and the rest of the day is gravy!”

Why forbid meetings before 3p Mondays thru Thursdays?
Longer stretchces of meeting-free time means you can get into the more complex tasks, or get into a longer rhythm on less complex tasks. How many times have you wanted to jump into a complex project, but put if off entirely because you had a meeting in 15 minutes? The first part of the day is when you’re most focused, so why waste this opportunity sitting in meetings?

Why forbid meetings longer than 30 minutes Monday thru Thursday?
You’re busy, but also I don’t think most meetings should take longer than this. If they’re running longer it may be because some of these aren’t happening (via 43 Folders):

via 43 Folders

via 43 Folders

Why allow meetings of any length on Fridays?
Not all meetings can be wrapped up in 30 minutes. Some status meetings require lots of people and a good chunk of time. Friday is the natural day for these as people are tired and less productive compared to the rest of the week. In the same way we batch work to be more efficient, why not batch long meetings for one specific day, instead of sprinkled throughout the week?

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