Today’s post is about a little mantra that I created that helps me deal with meetings that start late or not at all. It probably increases my work ability by half an hour a week.
The mantra developed when scheduled remote meetings kept getting forgotten by the other party and severely delayed or postponed. I would typically be ready five minutes ahead of time, and then fritter away twenty minutes or so, not wanting to get deep into any work. Then I would be a little demotivated for another few minutes when I realized the meeting wasn’t going to happen and that I wasted a lot of time.
When I realized that this kept happening, I needed to tell myself that it was OK to work through the scheduled meeting time, and if I was interrupted, that it was not a big deal. I made a post card saying: “Work Through Meeting Times To Gain Time” I have found that thinking about this card has helped me be much more productive in this uncertain time.
At first I worried that I would come into the meeting cold and appear dazed if I was in the middle of working on something or thinking about something. While this is somewhat true, by the time pleasantries are exchanged and I get a chance to review my notes or the project backlog, I have a good sense of what I need to bring up and have composure.
While the interruption may seem like a bit of a stress, I am going to get interrupted one way or another. But if I can get fifteen more minutes of useful things done, then it is a win.
Catching up on email or something else that needs to be done that can be interrupted might be good, but staying in the flow of difficult tasks may be better. Even better, I can write out that context. Alternately, taking low hanging fruit like cleaning up project management or continuing researching are solid approaches. If I have a physical meeting, bringing a few pages of reading might be a good time filler.
This approach is like chopping a board in karate. If you try to just chop the board, you will often not break it. But if you focus on chopping through the board, you will strike with a lot more force. In the same way, working only until the scheduled meeting start time leaves a lot of energy or time that could be used well instead.
If you have a meeting scheduled, consider whether this strategy would help you save time and get more work done.