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Take Control of Your Schedule: A Week of Meeting Detox

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

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Asynchronous communication, a type of communication that you'll need to understand and embrace in a flexible workplace.
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich. Pexels

Are you drowning in a sea of never-ending meetings? Well, this week is dedicated to you!

We've previously discussed tips for shortening meetings, so be sure to revisit that if you haven't already. But today, let's take it a step further and explore how we can disrupt the relentless flow of back-to-back meetings.

This week's Twork - Run a week of meeting detox

Step 1: Evaluate Your Schedule

First things first, grab your diary and let's assess your week ahead. The challenge is to exit any meeting that isn't essential. Anything that directly involves clients may need to stay, but for everything else, it's time to get ruthless.

Step 2: Communicate and Collaborate

Engage in a conversation with the meeting organisers. Often, we find ourselves including someone in a meeting because they possess valuable expertise or insights for a specific matter. However, they unintentionally become a permanent fixture, attending meetings indefinitely without truly knowing why.

The goal here is to break that pattern. Take the initiative and have a discussion with the meeting hosts. Ask them if it's necessary for you to be a regular attendee or if your input can be provided on an ad hoc basis. By interrupting this flow, you'll free up valuable time for yourself and your colleagues. Think of the relief you feel when someone tells you a meeting has been cancelled and you have an hour back!

Work the Twork - Maximise this week's work tweak to get even better results.

For the manager: Manager's Meeting Amnesty

If you're a manager, here's an idea for you: declare a meeting amnesty for a week. Yes, you read that right—cancel all team meetings. Encourage your team members to do the same. It's an opportunity to support each other in slashing unnecessary meetings from your calendars.

After this refreshing break, reintroduce only the meetings that truly matter. Consider those that involve decision-making, collaborative work, or meaningful connections. Identify the meetings that energise you and contribute to your productivity. Trim the rest as much as possible.

Block it: Protect Your Focus Time

To maintain control over your schedule, try setting aside blocks of time in your diary that others cannot book. In today's work culture, it's common to have access to colleagues' calendars and fill them up with meetings without seeking permission.

Let's be mindful of the meetings we schedule for others. Do we have their consent? Similarly, if someone schedules a meeting for you without prior consultation, don't hesitate to push back politely. Establish dedicated slots for focused work or deep thinking, and make sure your colleagues know that these times are off-limits for meetings. Of course, there are times when exceptions need to be made but they should be exceptions and not the rule.

At times we all have a little zoom fatigue or meeting weariness, sometimes it can be overwhelming. In our hybrid working lives, we need opportunities to create connection and meaningful collaboration. The problem is, so many of our meetings aren’t doing what they are supposed to do.

We will definitely come back with another twork soon on meaningful meeting design, but for now, as you try out this twork, be mindful of connection for you and others and make sure to feed your human need to connect with others.

I hope this week's meeting detox plan helps you reclaim some control over your schedule. Good luck implementing these strategies, and remember, we're all working towards making our work lives better together. Take care and goodbye!👋

Michelle Wallace


A Better Work


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