There is something life-changing about a Meeting Monday when meetings end on time.
When you end meetings on time (or early), you can feel the relief in the room. People go back to their work with little surprised grins of pleasure. No one expected that.
That’s the thing about meetings: unless you’re paying attention, they will run over. And unless you’re paying attention to what run-over meetings do to people and their productivity, they will continue to run over.
How you end meetings – like how you do many small things – really matters.
Every meeting has a time and opportunity cost (the time you spend in the meeting can’t be spent, you know, actually doing things), and every meeting you call has an implicit contract: if you give me X amount of time, I will deliver or curate important information and strategies that will help you out.
But when your meetings routinely run over, you are violating that implicit contract. And if people can’t trust you to end you meetings on time, how can they trust you to get the things discussed in the meeting done on time? And how can you trust yourself, if you can’t manage to stay on the clock?
Ending meetings late isn’t just a sorry thing to do others – it will also make you feel worse and perform worse. If you go into every 30-minute meeting knowing that you have a buffer of 10 or 15 more minutes, you’re going to be about half as efficient as someone with only 30 minutes. And when you finish meetings late, you will feel behind, and (ironically) more rushed in everything else you try to do that day, which (let’s be honest) is more important than sitting in meetings.
The meeting time constraint exists to force you to trim fat and to make the most out of time. Use it!
When you try to finish on time, you will leave your meetings more aware, more focused, and more action-oriented. When you finish meetings early, you’ll even leave with greater momentum, knowing you now have more time to get things done. You’ll be able to trust your schedule again.
It’s a small thing, but if you try it, I’m sure you’ll notice the difference.