Productivity Tip: Meeting-Free Day

Meeting-free dayManaging your own business takes a lot of discipline.

As business owners, we wear many hats because there is a lot of daily work that needs to be done. Multitasking becomes a norm, and delegating is (usually) a dream.

If you work for someone, you agree to show up at a certain time, put in a certain number of hours, and focus on specific tasks. As your own boss, you quickly discover that you are the Jack-of-All (or Jill-of-All) Trades and having to do ‘it all’ requires a lot of time.

We have our calendars and fill in appointments and meetings without thinking twice since they are business related and need to be done.

In the early days of my business, I felt that spreading meetings and appointments out over the week worked best – the days were less cramped and I was productive (I thought).

But I’ve discovered that having a ‘meeting-free’ day each week makes me more productive. On occasion I’ll have a day with back-to-back meetings and appointments, but mostly it averages out to 2-3 meetings per day and one day a week where I have no appointments (not even phone interviews or online meetings).

Having a day of uninterrupted time results in high productivity. Of course there are emails and phone calls, but they can be managed (or put off). Not having to drive somewhere, or sit on a webinar for a certain block of time, allows the workday to flow and the To Do list to be attended to properly. My meeting-free day is the one where the most tasks are completed.

Of course not every week can work out having a ‘meeting-free day’, but I’d like to recommend giving it a try if you find yourself needing to be more productive during the week.

How do you balance meetings within your weekly schedule? Do you spread them out, try to pack them all into one day? What works for you?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

18 thoughts on “Productivity Tip: Meeting-Free Day

  1. As I work for someone else, I don’t get any say in meetings, BUT I have used this idea in my personal life – I live in an area that sees lots of summer visitors, and when I first moved here, all the people I ever knew wanted to come visit in the summer. Even though I enjoyed their visits, it was exhausting. I started blocking out one weekend per month that was visitor free. I marked it with an X on the calendar, and when people called, that week was already taken. It saved my sanity! Gave me time to catch up on housework, gardening, etc. I suspect it is the same when you run your own business.

  2. Pingback: Productivity Tip: Meeting-Free Day — Live to Write – Write to Live – Crazy Sales Tips

  3. I definitely concur and can share experience on two fronts. On the one, I supervise a team of university fellows, who look to me for their assignments. I have 10-12 fellows, and that means a lot of training and assigning — and then editing their work. They only work 12-15 hours a week each, and they all seem to avoid working on Fridays (and Thursdays, if they can manage it). So as the week dies down, the seats in the cubicles empty. The fewer fellows I have, the more of my own work I get done. Likewise, I have a team of colleagues, and we often have multiple meetings scheduled throughout the week. But when the boss is out of town, those meetings are canceled — and the work I can produce multiples almost exponentially. I also love Salpal1’s suggested X on the calendar to claim a weekend of no visitors. Time to focus without scheduled meetings is essential.

  4. I’m a freelancer and can technically decide on a meeting-free day, but it’s not always possible – how do you say no to a day-stint that’s not only not coming back, but might end up going to a competitor? (who thereby gets a foothold at my client’s 😦 ) However, when I do manage, I get SO much done!

  5. A number of high tech companies I’ve worked for have enforced a “no meeting” day to make sure the engineering teams get at least one day a week of real work done. My current company has a real anti-meeting culture and you’d better have a real good reason to call a formal meeting of the whole team. Hallway conversations and small groups (1-3 people) are encouraged but big time consuming meetings aren’t.

    • If only they all did that. The company my hubs works for is in love with meetings. If you try to block out time on your calendar, people schedule over it and expect you to be there. And I get to hear about it. LOL

      • Ewww! One company I contract with respects the calendar and plans meetings around blocked-out time for the majority of required attendees. Horrible to schedule over the time and have the expectation to attend anyway – that’s so stressful.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Andrew. I spent so much wasted time in meetings when I worked in a cubicle. I think a lot more collaboration gets done with the hallway meetings you mention – quick conversation, make a decision, get back to work! 🙂

  6. For the time being, I work for myself and right time to put things in an orderly manner to be more productive. Packing everything in a day makes it tough and need to put things on various days. I normally keep Fridays for meeting when I am free.

  7. Where possible, meeting-free days are v. important. Especially if the core of a person’s workload is creative – having a block of uninterrupted time is necessary. As is, setting time limits on the meetings you go do to and and trying not to end up wasting hours in meetings to have meetings. This is not always easy, I feel.

    • Agreed – not always easy, but very beneficial when it can happen. And if we don’t at least ‘plan’ for a meeting-free day, we’ll never have one, right? 🙂 You make the great point about creativity especially needing blocks of time — so true. It takes so long to get back into the mindset sometimes, when you start something creative and have to stop.

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