Image courtesy of organisational physics.com
I unwittingly slumped in my chair a little as my client told me he was back to spending 50% of his time reacting or responding to emails, and about 30% of his time locked in meetings where mostly he was wondering why he was there.
“I know, I know” he blurted out loud in frustration and in response to my slump.
I regained my composure and engaged in conversation with my client using my four standard accountability conversation questions:
What do you need to do to get back on track?
Is their anything I can do to help you?
As a consequence my client mapped out the following course of action. It may help you as much as it’s helped him get his life, his time and his mojo back.
Firstly three key principles to apply in your own best way:
1) You have control over most of the 168 hours you have at your disposal every week.
2) The consequences of pushing back on unsolicited, unwarranted or unclear requests are never as bad as you think they might be.
3) "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." William James
3 rules for better meetings encompassed in the one rule of only participating in meetings that have one of the three as their purpose
1) Assessment/review of data meetings where the purpose is to extract usable insight.
2) Decision-making meetings where an agreed process is followed.
3) Learning and development meetings where there's been pre-work and when there will be post work to integrate the learning with what you're already doing well.
It's a disappointing waste of time, resources and talent to spend money to work on a problem that actually should be a conversation first.
More from Seth on meetings here.
3 rules for a better email experience
1) Only write and respond to emails twice a day.
2) Only send emails that inform, inspire or invite.
3) Only read email newsletters and other subscriptions once a week.
3 rules for other forms of message exchange
1) Let other people know your preferred ways to receive information. Mine is telephone and second preference texting where text is short and sweet with a link if appropriate and clear expectation of a reply request or not.
2) Ask people what their preferred way/s are for receiving information from you are and do that.
3) Use proven digital collaboration tools when working on projects with other people.
Here's a review of 10 online collaboration tools
Who will you become? What will you do next?
PS Below are 3 further articles I've found valuable on the topics of meaningful meetings, emails and messaging in general.
Thought Leaders Global Founder Matt Church on elemental meetings
How to stop wasting time a guide to more effective meetings from Brian Neese and Alvernia University
Three key actions real leaders take every day
and here is a bonus two page manifesto for best practice in communication in general that I wrote way back in 2005 yet still highly relevant today.