Take a look at your work calendar. I suspect this looks like a multi coloured patchwork quilt, with very little white space (“free time”) visible, unless you scroll forward a few weeks. “I’m back to back all day!” How often do you either hear or say that?
Does a packed calendar show how important and successful you are, or is it simply showing that you have no time to actually get stuff done?
Stop and reflect for a moment and ask yourself if you are just too busy being busy. In others word, are you in danger of becoming a “busy fool”?
Peter Drucker said: “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
Stephen Covey told us: “It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success, only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”
Of the meetings you attend, how many are what could be called “Groundhog Day” meetings, i.e. it’s the same regular weekly meeting with the same people, the same agenda and potentially where the same things are discussed, with the same set of actions resulting, that nobody ever follows up on? And so the cycle continues.
How many in-person meetings do you attend where everyone walks into the room, takes their seat and then immediately opens their laptop and/or pulls out their phone and remains distracted from that moment on?
Virtual meetings, if anything, make this engagement problem worse. Come on, admit it, I bet you’ve joined a virtual meeting, made some excuse as to why you can’t turn video on (my broadband seems particularly slow today!), placed yourself on mute and then turned back to something else. I’m pretty sure you’ve also felt the panic when, half-listening, you catch your name and the end of a question directed to you, and you respond: “Sorry, I didn’t quite get that. Your line broke up”.
Don’t attend meetings for meetings’ sake or as a way to fill up your day. If you are going to attend (physically or virtually) then actively listen and participate rather than just be present. Give yourself time outside of meetings to reflect, to be creative and to focus on the outcomes and the end results.