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Create space in your schedule

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Work doesn’t have to suck, let’s make it better together

This weekly tweak is part of our series to make work better together - get it direct to your inbox.

Ever find yourself racing from meeting to meeting? Without a minute to stretch your legs, get some coffee or even get to the toilet!

Trying to switch your brain from one topic to another is more challenging for some than others as this research from Drexel University on Human Behaviour shows but when constantly jumping from one involved meeting to another, even the most flexible brains will struggle.

The average worker spends at least a third of their time in meetings, for the most part, the higher up you go, the more meetings you have. According to Harvard Business Review, up to 72% of executives' time is in meetings.

And it's no better if you work remotely, the precious few minutes you previously had as you ran between meeting rooms have gone. There is zero transition for your brain to switch from one big topic to another and a whole set of new people.

Think about your typical meetings; often the real work gets done/ or decisions get made in the last fifteen minutes or so because you know that is the time you have available.

Why do we do it to ourselves and our colleagues? It doesn’t have to be that way.

What if we cut the time of every meeting by just a little?

Imagine how your week's work could improve if you had four and a half hours back 👀 to reflect, plan, transition and do minor tasks.

Simply by shortening 60-minute meetings by just 10 minutes, can give back four and a half hours during a 40-hour week.

Here's this week's tweak and it couldn't be easier because your tech will do it for you.

A Better Work Tweak - Cut your meetings by 5 or 10 minutes.

By five minutes for meetings 30 mins and under and ten minutes for anything over that. That means you will now have 25, or 50-minute sessions.

How do I do that?

How to for MS Teams and Google Calendar

The guidelines below will help you automatically adjust your calendar default times to these new durations and give you time back.

MS teams - Read guide

Google Calendar: Go to calendar settings and choose “Speedy meetings”. Settings > Event Settings and check the box for speedy meetings. End 30-minute meetings 5 minutes early and longer meetings 10 minutes early

A Better Tweak - our tip to make the tweak even better

A habit is a habit once it’s bedded in and being a brave leader at any level means it’s on you to help your colleagues see how it will benefit you all.

Declare it - Announce at the start of the call that the time is shorter than usual and it's a hard stop at the time.

Visual reminder - Use a visual countdown timer. It’s one thing to know how much time has passed but a whole other to understand what time is left. Zoom has a great countdown clock plug in and there are options for Teams too.

Stick to it - If it’s clear you won’t finish in the time, spend the last 5 minutes either scheduling a new meeting or agreeing on the next steps to get the outcomes needed (final details can be covered on Slack, email, and Teams).

This little teeny tiny tweak can be an absolute game changer. It can reduce stress, give you time to prepare, boost productivity, improve collaboration and ensure you’re not testing your bladder too much 🤭

Michelle Wallace


A Better Work


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Let’s make work better together.



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