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Managing Your Day Around Meetings

Tags:  Reputation, Job stress

Going to meetings is a necessary part of getting ahead in your organization. But let's face it: Many meetings are a waste of valuable time. You and your co-workers sit around discussing irrelevant workplace issues while your own work fails to get done. But it doesn't have to be that way. You can actually save time by learning how to manage your workday around those meetings. And this important job skill is easy to master. Here are some guidelines you can use before, during, and after that next pesky meeting.

Before the Meeting
  • Please Don't Go

Never be afraid to skip a meeting that doesn't require your attendance. In many cases, you can provide your input by conference call or email.

  • Pick the Right Time

If possible, try to schedule meetings when your workload is light. And never commit yourself to attending a meeting before considering all of your deadlines.

  • Get the Agenda—Now!

Have a copy of the agenda? If not, get one several days before the meeting. Next, look over the topics; write down what you plan to say about each of them. Preparing your comments in advance will keep you focused—and impress the other attendees.

  • Pre-Meeting

There's no reason why you have to wait: Get a head start by speaking with some of the participants before the meeting. This is the perfect opportunity to gain support for one of your great ideas.

During the Meeting
  • Never be late

Make sure you get to the meeting early. You never want to be the reason why a meeting starts late—and ends late.  

  • Discuss Your Topics First

Agenda items can usually be discussed in any order. If you're pressed for time, ask that your issues be moved to the top of the list so you can leave early.

  • Be a Leader

The person running the meeting may be in charge. But you have plenty of control, too.  If you notice the discussion is going off track, politely urge your fellow participants to stick to the agenda items.

  • Leave on Time

Is the meeting running over the scheduled time? Don't worry. Excuse yourself and leave immediately. Other attendees will probably take your lead and do the same. After all, you still have jobs to do.

After the Meeting
  • Read the Minutes

Reviewing the minutes will help you stay on top of things—especially if you didn't attend the meeting. And don't hesitate to contact the participants for more information or clarification on certain items.

  • Offer Suggestions

If you have any ideas on how to save time during future meetings, tactfully give them to the meeting leader. He or she will probably appreciate the advice and may even use some of your suggestions.


Meetings will never be a thing of the past. And you will never avoid going to them altogether. But by effectively managing your day around meetings, you can still significantly reduce your workload.


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