I talk a lot about the biggest time wasters in the workplace.
You know them well.
There’s checking Facebook or your email, trolling the internet for nearly anything, chatting with your co-worker, a “quick” game of Candy Crush… the list goes on and on.
But what’s the ultimate time waster?
Think about it. How many time have you sat in a meeting that was supposed to finish an hour ago, but one person keeps asking questions that aren’t really relevant? (There’s always one!)
What’s more? The majority of meetings end up going nowhere. Too much talk and nothing ever gets done.
That’s a huge pet peeve of mine — I’m all about the execution. Give me the checklist to get things done!
So how do we solve this meeting issue?
In walks Gary Vaynerchuk.
Surely you’ve heard of him? No?
I interviewed him for my day job as a TV producer about 8 years ago when he was just a “wine guy.” His business career started when he was running Wine Library for his parents and turned it into a $60 million dollar operation. We hit it off and he wrote a few guest posts for this blog on wine tasting and collecting.
Since then he’s become the face of entrepreneurship and social media.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago – we reconnected at my friend Farnoosh Torabi’s launch party for her new show on CNBC, “Follow the Leader.” She follows Gary (and other successful entrepreneurs) around for 48 hours and we get to tag along. Check out the episode here.
So what does this have to do with meetings?
Gary, like me, hates meetings and his advice has completely changed my approach to them. I even wrote about it in my book Listful Thinking.
As a rule (and you know how much I love rules!) Gary’s meetings last 7 minutes. It seems very short, but that’s all you really need to go over the important points. Any additional questions or issues can be sorted out over email.
The 7 minute meeting works because we are all conditioned to use the amount of time we have. So if a meeting is scheduled for an hour then it will take an hour and all the extra time will be filled with anecdotes and chit chat about last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
By cutting that meeting time in half or even a quarter you get to rid of the fat. But you still get to keep the meat. If you’re really good – you’ll probably still have time for a few quick jokes.
When it comes to time management every minutes counts and I’m always trying to save time on all of my to-dos. Even if it’s only 5 minutes!
So of course I am a huge fan of Gary’s method.
However, not everyone loves the 7 minute meeting plan.
In this article Erik Devaney argues that time spent on non-work related chit chat can actually be beneficial to employees. That by sharing little details of our personal lives we improve our personal relationships and group cohesion. When we work well together we tend to be more productive.
So listening to my co-workers funny story about her cat is not necessarily wasted time, but an investment in our group cohesion. It could actually make us more productive in the long run. Ok, got it.
While I like the more immediate time saving results of a 7 minute meeting I suppose there is always room for a happy medium! A combination of the two methods works depending on the subject matter.
What do you think? Try it out and let me know if you think shorter meetings are better!