Who decided that we could only schedule thirty-minute or one-hour meetings? Imagine if your half-hour meeting only took twenty minutes. Or if your 60-minute meeting only took forty?
Yes, you have permission to end meetings early. And here’s why you’ll want to: In the non-stop world we live in, we move fast and rarely have the opportunity to think between one meeting and the next or in between one business decision and the next. But you can create a culture that produces that extra time for yourself (and for others) so that better ideas are formed and better decisions are made.
Instead of allowing meetings to get derailed, set your intention to accomplish your goal beforehand. A goal could be as simple as finishing five minutes early, delegating a high-priority task, or making a final decision that’s been lingering for months. Once a decision is made and goals are met, the meeting ends.
I reached out to Terra Bohlmann, a business strategist and creator of The Business Map Method™ who helps women business owners fast-track their five-year plans into one-year plans, to find out how we can free up more time during the day.
Step 1: Reflect And Close Your Mental Loop (2 Minutes)
Write up meeting notes, decisions made, and the next steps that need to happen. Then, you can reference your notes before your future discussion on this topic. “Think of it as creating a file cabinet of high-level notes you can access at any time,” says Bohlmann.
“Avoid the impulse to make a quick phone call, check email, or solicit input from someone else. Don’t fall for these traps because there’s nothing worse than being late to your next meeting.”
Step 2: Prepare For Your Next Meeting By Defining Your Goal (2 Minutes)
“Now that you’ve closed the loop on your previous business meeting, it’s time to transition to the next topic,” advises Bohlmann. “Review any previous notes and decide on the top goal you want to accomplish during your next meeting. If you are leading the meeting, jot down a simple agenda that you’ll share with others when you kick-off the meeting and your top goal.”
Simply verbalizing your intent for what you want coming out of the meeting can do wonders for everyone’s focus and productivity. Try and get specific and verbalize it – this can usually lead to shorter meetings, regaining everyone’s time.
Step 3: Give Your Brain A Well-Deserved Break (1 Minute)
“Now that you feel mentally prepared, take a minute to get quiet and relax. Stand up, stretch, and take some deep breaths. This minute is for you and only you. It allows your brain to rest so that you go into your next meeting or task with a clear head,” notes Bohlmann. “Don’t feel pressure to get to your meeting early to make small talk. Be on time, be fully present for the group, and end the meeting early.”
By following this five-minute system, you’re meetings will run smoother and your decisions will be better. You can take better care of your time and other’s time. These are not just platitudes, but rather a way to reduce burnout and daily frustrations.