Leaders Use Time Wisely: Rethink the Block

Beware the 30-minute meeting—or the 60-minute meeting. Setting up time blocks that go straight into the next block’s beginning have these results for the heavily-scheduled:

  • No time for a restroom break, so when you take one, you’re late.
  • Growing apprehension that you’re missing an urgent voice mail, email, or progress update.
  • Rushing from one room to another.

But we love the tidy time block.

And—there’s always more to talk about. So we all-too-rarely end a 30-minute meeting early; instead, we fill the time. Tej Dhawan, speaking at “90 Ideas in 90 Minutes” back in September, offered these potential meeting lengths:

  • 10 minutes, to instill urgency.
  • 11 minutes, to instill urgency and resist the temptation to schedule something immediately afterwards.
  • 17 minutes, to give people a 13-minute break between meetings.
  • 37 minutes, to gift people a likely 23-minute block of work time.

Another benefit of an odd length is that when a meeting needs to go long, it’s easier to accommodate.

In my work with teams, I’ve been surprised at how willing people are to go past the meeting end time to resolve an issue. But that willingness doesn’t matter for the heavily-scheduled; they’re bound to the next appointment.

Use time wisely—rethink the block—use meeting lengths that aren’t divisible by 10 or 15.

This post is part of a set of posts inspired by the Business Record’s “90 Ideas in 90 Minutes” event in September 2017. Learn more, download a pdf, and see all the speakers here.

Post 1: Leaders Develop Everyone
Post 2: Leaders Encourage Thinking “A Step Above”
Post 3: Leaders Ask “Does it Need to be Said?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *