Are Emails And Meetings Hurting Your Productivity?
What takes up all of your time during the work day? If you’re like many leaders, probably meetings, video calls, and endless emails. You must ask, are those things really helping you get the job done or are they getting in the way? Most would say at least some if not a lot of the latter.
So why do you continue to set more meetings and send more emails?
It’s a habit.
When we have problems to address or issues to resolve, we call more meetings. We send more emails. And sometimes they do help, though often the problem persists or takes another form. More communication is not always the answer, despite the well-worn aphorism to “over communicate.” Rather, more precise communication is the answer.
Before sending or scheduling, see if you can get to the root cause of the heavy email traffic and overscheduled calendars. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are we pursuing unclear objectives or goals?
- Do different teams have conflicting priorities and objectives?
- Are we trying to solve problems without identifying the causes?
- Is information being shared (especially dense, overly detailed information) that would be better for another forum?
- Is there a lack of agreement among leaders on what is urgent or important? Has everything become urgent and important?
- Are the reward and feedback systems aligned with company values and strategy? Are we encouraging and discouraging the appropriate behaviors?
The fact of the matter is that email and meetings are simply mediums. You will find them much more effective when there is clarity about why they are being used.
Slow down. Avoid scheduling meetings and sending emails for the sake of it. Be more intentional about what you are trying to accomplish. Spend time defining the problems before you try to solve them. Without this kind of focus, meetings and emails will devolve to habits rather than intentional and strategic tools.
To learn more about how to be strategic with meetings and increase productivity, you may find these articles of value. Of course, I can’t resist pointing out that I wrote them a year ahead of the pandemic! If only I had applied my leadership advice to investments in Zoom!