It's time to confess, we are doing it wrong
Email and meetings take up the most time but are often the least productive thing we do, it's time to admit it.
This is a safe space, so let’s take a breath and admit this together. Here goes. Meetings and email don’t equal work. In fact, they may be counter to it.
Let’s start with meetings, and ask a few questions:
Should they really be an hour or even 30-minutes? (nope)
Do we really need that many people in them, you know, the people that never speak? (nope)
Should we have a meeting without a clear leader, agenda, note-taker, or supporting documents? (nope)
We’ve all been guilty of this stuff, likely within the last few workdays, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue to fall for the allure of meetings, with their false promises of moving things forward and their seduction of coffee-induced whiteboarding sessions that end without action items. Meetings can be better; all it takes are a few moments of planning.
Take 3-minutes to ask these questions about your next meeting, and you will see vast improvements for everyone.
What is the goal of the meeting?
How much time should reaching this goal take? Then, add in 5-minutes for chit-chat cause that is important (bonus article on this).
What are you going to talk about, decide on, or do? Write a quick agenda.
Who will take notes and send them out after the meeting?
Ok, on to email. We have to stop checking in constantly. Checking email is not work. Responding to it may seem urgent, but it’s not, and often, it’s not even important. And, just ignoring email because it’s too overwhelming is a bad idea. There is a better way. Here are a few things that have helped me.
Only check email at pre-determined times each day. For example, block time on your calendar to check email at 10am, 1pm, and 4:30pm. Keep your email closed except during those times.
Set expectations for responsiveness with your team, customers, etc., with a short blurb in your email signature. Here is what I used to use:
FYI... I use email differently. Prioritizing human interactions, I only check email twice a day and don't have notifications enabled. I do, however, work to clear my inbox at least once each day.
Email is a black hole for most of us; if we don’t tame it, it will just suck us in time and again.
Great leadership reading from this week.
You Should Be Using an Email Signature That Protects Your Time - Hmmm, this looks familiar. I should have written an article about this years ago!
The Six Productivity Hacks Elon Musk Sent To His Staff - My favorite one from this list: Leave a meeting if you are not contributing. Literally, the moment you realize you aren’t contributing to the meeting, walk out. I love this one!
What a Compassionate Email Culture Looks Like - We need to think about protecting our colleagues’ inboxes, not making them worse.
This week I’m thinking about:
Marketing Content Creation.
I believe podcasts are the best way to create massive amounts of marketing content for companies. So, I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about content and what makes it stick. Here are a few articles I’ve enjoyed:
6 Books Every Content Creator Should Read - I started reading Contagious from this list, and it’s not brand new, but it’s still pretty great.
You Won’t Be a Successful Content Creator Until You Understand the Algorithm - I found this article was really helpful, and I think that not considering the algorithm in my writing and approach has hurt me in the past.
Also, if you love my idea of using a podcast to create massive amounts of content, you will love this new project I’m working on called Edgewise.
Other great reading from the week
Google Was Almost Going To Be Called “The Whatbox” - And apparently (and creepily) it was also once called Backrub.
A Rule for Solving Unsolvable Problems: Cut, Don’t Pull - Surprisingly, I found this article pretty insightful.
Podcasts to check out
Tech Talk Y’all - My tech/comedy news podcast
This Spaceship is Blinding
This week we talk about Discord, Clubhouse, Netflix cutting greenhouse emissions (so you can feel better about binge-watching), and so much more.
TogetherLetters - My podcast about the app that I’m helping build to keep people better connected.
Helping Communication Slow Down
One of the benefits of TogetherLetters is that it forces teams to slow down and communicate thoughtfully. More on that in this episode.
That’s a wrap!
Did you find anything helpful here? Pay me back by sharing it with someone. Thanks for reading!