The Three Meeting Rule

Meetings are rarely ever doing. Constraining the daily meetings forces choice and improves effectiveness.

When I started as a consultant I carried over practices from corporate life. I wanted to fill my days with meetings. I had a need to network and to build my business. I needed to tell my story and win work. I took a lot of meetings and spent days running around town.

I was soon reminded how unproductive the meeting circuit was. Taking every meeting chewed up lots of time, created lots of activity and spent energy. The commutes between meetings alone took hours. However it delivered few results.

Reflecting on my lack of productivity I implemented a daily rule of no more than 3 meetings. Limiting meetings had an immediate benefit in creating time to think, to do work and to make choices. A limit also made me much more focused on which meetings to take. I also found that many other meetings could be swapped for a quick phone call, a video chat or an exchange of information.

Any arbitrary rule should always be honoured in the breach. I occasionally take another meeting but now I do so reflecting on the value of that meeting and its cost in my time. Overall my productivity has risen as I look for other ways to get work done.

How would a limit on meetings work for you?

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