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Quick Thought – Meetings that Could Have Been an Email

Yesterday I attended a meeting that lasted 3 minutes.

At the time, I was happy to have not wasted any more time in a meeting than was absolutely necessary and to get 27 minutes back of my day.

So, good for us for not wasting time and filling the half-hour time slot.

On the other hand, if ever there was a meeting that could have been an email, this was it.

But, of course, it’s never going to be an email because it’s a weekly project check-in meeting. Somehow, those kinds of meetings rarely get canceled and dropped to an email because it’s just too hard to do. I mean, yes, can I put in an email that progress is up to date on the plan documents, there are no issues and no dependencies in the way, and everything is green, but that’s just not how we work, is it? Nope, we have a weekly stand-up, it’s on the calendar, we’ve all coordinated our days around that meeting, we’ve intentionally not started on focus work in the time prior to that meeting, or we’ve scheduled other meetings around it. We can’t just skip it, right?

So, my challenge, for you and myself, is to consider the weekly meetings you have and whether they are necessary that week. I know they exist for a reason and can be a very helpful place to keep things coordinated. I also know that some weeks, there’s just not much to report or coordinate. So would it be better to send an email, and cancel the meeting?

As much as I enjoyed the three-minute meeting, I still planned the rest of my day around those 3 minutes. Doesn’t that seem like a waste when I could have sent an email at the start of the day and moved on?

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