Meetings are like a can of Pringles.
Once you put your hand in the can, it's very hard to stop. They're addictive. One comes after the other. Once you realize, you just ate a elefant's worth of calories. There goes your #summerbody goal.
Jokes aside, meetings do stack up and become addictive. The more meetings we have now, the more likely we are to have more meetings in the future. One meeting generates follow-up meetings, and if you're tired - perhaps you had way too many meetings in one day - you'll be less sharp and it'll be more difficult to make the meeting productive.
So today, I propose that you do a meeting audit.
It's quite simple:
Open up your calendar app and check your last 30 days. You want to analyse the following:
- How many meetings did you have?
- How many hours of meetings, in total, did you have?
- How many of these meetings had more than two people, including yourself?
These questions are the basis of a meeting audit.
And why is a meeting audit important? Because acknowleding your current situation is the key to improving it. If you don't know where you're spending your time you cannot spend it better. What gets measured gets improved.
How should you interpret this data?
Armed with this information, you can now create your meeting scorecard. You'll check your progress on two dimensions.
First, take the number of meetings and the total meeting time. Multiply the number of meetings by 20, add it to your total meeting time in minutes, and divide it by four weeks. This shows the total impact of meetings on your work.
Now, check result against the scorecard:
- 🟢 If you got less than 600 points, then you have a good meeting health.
- 🟡 If you got between 600 and 1200 points, then you have a average meeting health.
- 🔴 If you got more than 1200 points, then you have a bad meeting health.
After this, you should check how your meetings are structured. Take the percentage of meetings you participate in that have only two attendees, including yourself. Now, compare that to the scorecard.
- 🟢 If you got 80% or more, then you have a good meeting health.
- 🟡 If you got between 50% and 80%, then you have a average meeting health.
- 🔴 If you got less than 50%, then you have a bad meeting health.
And that's it. With these two metrics, you'll be able to understand your current meeting health and have a clear path to progress on improvement these metrics.