My meeting manifesto, point by point
Attend a maximum of four hours of meetings per day. Your maximum may be different from mine. I just figured that I wouldn’t spend more than half my workday in meetings. I even post the maximum right on my calendar so everyone can see it! (See screenshot below.)
Decline or reschedule meetings that put me over the four-hour limit. Every morning before my workday starts, I prune my calendar. Here are some questions I ask myself:
- Do I need to attend every design critique? (No.)
- Can I easily reschedule a 1:1 if it puts me over the four-hour limit? (Yes.)
- If there are no agenda items for a particular meeting, can we can cancel it? (Yes.)
- If a meeting will be documented or recorded, can I skip attending and read/watch it later? (Sometimes.)
You get the idea: be ruthless about the meetings you must absolutely attend, and decline/reschedule the rest.
Auto-decline all Wednesday meetings. At Dropbox, Wednesday is designated as No Meeting Wednesday, so I mark it with an eight-hour “out of office” block. Anyone who adds a meeting on that day will receive an auto-decline message.
Convert all 1:1s to 25 minutes. I like a short and sweet meeting. It forces you (and the other attendee) to keep the conversation focused!
Leave one-hour meetings 10 minutes early. That’s my golden rule these days: for every one-hour meeting, I need a 10-minute break—to grab water, take a bathroom break, jot down tasks from the meeting, or prepare for the next meeting.
Leave 30-minute meetings five minutes early. See point above.
Use the “Speedy meetings” Google Calendar setting. If your company uses Google Calendar, you can set meetings to end early by default. In your calendar, click the gear icon, choose Settings, then scroll down to the Event settings section.