I have a confession to make – I have lots of time. I never run out of time, and it feels like I still have time despite everything I do.
Did I hear a few people reading this gasp, gulp or sputter in astonishment? For the life of me – I struggle to understand why people are so overwhelmed. And even more puzzling is the underlying belief that it is being done to them, and there is very little they can do about it.
In most of my department meetings, the topic of ‘meeting management’ comes up. And most people still believe that if only the number of meetings in their life were reduced, it would solve their problems. Some people say that the meetings have only increased in the last eleven years. And I think to myself – despite that, you still think there will be a world where meetings will reduce?
Trying to reduce the number of meetings is pointless – a) it is out of your control and b) look at the world around you – do you see signs of anybody slowing down? Once we have accepted that the meetings are what they are, we can explore other options.
There are two kinds of people.
First, who has meetings and lots to do and will tell you that they are not overwhelmed and have free time?
Second, who also have lots of meetings and lots to do but will tell you they are overwhelmed and have no time for anything.
The difference between these two kinds of people is their state of mind. I believe that regardless of the meetings/work you have to do, how you manage them determines your state of mind.
For example – if you plan your day, prioritize it and feel empowered to make the calls – it does not matter how many meetings or work you have to do. But, if you live in a state of fog without clarity on what needs to get done – Yes, the world will be overwhelming because you are running around like a headless chicken with only a 5 ft view of clarity. It requires courage and works to stop checking emails, attending meetings and figuring out the long-term view. Many people avoid that work.
In one of the meetings, one of my employees said, ‘It is very hard to decline meetings?’ And I understood it to mean that he is polite and does not want to decline meetings. So, I told him that I could send meeting invites to him, which he could decline, which would help him exercise his muscle. But then he clarified – he said it’s not that he cannot decline. It’s that he has to think – about whether he should attend the meeting or not. If he does not, then what should he tell the meeting organizer? Should he reschedule? When I heard him say that – I told him pointedly, ‘That work has to be done – expecting the meetings to reduce without that clarity is just beating around the bush.’
This also applies to life – many people just go about their daily life because it is easier to beat around the bush than get straight to the point. But, at the end of the day – all you do is check emails and never work towards your real goal – are you living your life?
Are you beating around the bush or getting to the point?