Tighten Up That Meeting.
Do your 60-minute meetings run 70 minutes or 75? In most companies, they do, because people show up late, they don’t focus on the topic, etc. Instead:
State a clear objective for the meeting.
Remember that the objective is a goal, not a description, so “About Our New Pricing Policy” is not an objective and results in a meandering conversation. “Developing a Communications Strategy for Price Increase” is a clear goal that tells participants where the meeting is going.
Start on time.
If people are chronically late for meetings, lock the door to the conference room and don’t let them in. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they learn how to arrive on time.
Standing room only.
Get rid of the chairs. Really. People won’t fall into chit-chat mode if they can’t sit down.
The Professor is in.
You probably live in a world of near-constant interruptions. Some of those are due to legitimate issues. But a significant percentage of those interruptions aren’t really necessary. You can eliminate some of them by having mini-meetings with key staff — a 10-minute meeting twice a day, for example — and encouraging them to hold all non-urgent issues till those meetings. Try keeping office hours each day — two or three hours during which people can come to see you with any issue. Then block out several hours for uninterrupted, focused work of your own.
Dump the To-Do List
The act of constantly choosing among the options on your to-do list is itself time-consuming. Rather than carrying around a to-do list that provides you with nearly infinite choices about what to do, block out time in your calendar to handle those items. When you’ve pre-committed to tackling the first draft of the RFP at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, you can let it go right now. By eliminating some of the choices during the course of each day, you eliminate the constant mental juggling of tasks and enhance your productivity.