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Against recurring meetings

Having a regular weekly/biweekly meeting gives you a superpower that you are probably abusing, to your own detriment and to the detriment of everyone around you.

That regular call grants you a reliable way to capture and defer stray thoughts, ideas, questions, stalled projects and ambiguous tasks. “Let’s discuss it on our next Zoom.” Boom! Handled.

This is frankly an amazing improvement over trying to chase down every loose thread that comes up in the course of your day. It lets you focus on the task at hand and get things done, while ensuring nothing important slips through the cracks. How could anything slip through the cracks? We’ll just handle it in the meeting.

Except … this is ideal if and only if the next action for literally every initiative in your world is “discuss with every person who attends the recurring meeting.”

In most cases, it probably isn’t.

Sometimes the next step is to review progress, or reprioritize, or assign a task to someone, or give feedback, or decide whether to continue.

If the next step is someone else’s responsibility, waiting till the next meeting to assign it just leaves the task in limbo unnecessarily.

And if the next step is your responsibility, and it’s something you don’t need outside input to complete, you’re asking people to come to a meeting just to watch you think.

What might work better, and what you absolutely deserve, is a daily recurring meeting with yourself. No outside influences or distractions. Just you, figuring out what’s next for all the items on your list.

This means you can still default to “deal with it later” when distractions arise - push it tomorrow, during your daily recurring meeting.

And when you sit down to deal with it, if it really does need discussion, by all means add it to the next group call agenda.

You might find that those calls become way more engaging when the only discussion items are the ones that require real-time input. And you might also find that the meetings are shorter, and feel more productive.

You might even find that you don’t need as many of them. Who knows, one day you might even end up being the kind of weirdo who writes blog posts against recurring meetings.

    © 2023 Brian David Hall