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Scheduling a call is not productivity


It sure feels like it, though. Doesn’t it?

You’re making a decision. You’re communicating with others. You’re committing to further work on a project.

But choosing “let’s jump on a call” as a next step is actually an act of desperation.

It’s a way of saying “this project is important enough to be worth several people’s time and attention. Yet there are no clear next steps right now, and I’m going to forget about it until an arbitrary calendar event pops up.”

There’s a contradiction there. If the project isn’t all that important, don’t make people go to a meeting about it. If it is important, give it a little more time and attention in the moment.

If you do, you’ll likely find that scheduling a call is not the optimal next step.

Here are two methods you can try to sound out what really needs to happen next.

Ask a question

Imagine the meeting day has come, and you’re in the room or Zoom with everyone you invited.

What’s the first question you’re going to ask? Whom do you ask?

Okay, is there a way you can ask them without scheduling a meeting? Or better yet, is there a way you can find the answer without asking anyone? If so, what’s the next question after that?

Work backwards from your desired outcome

Imagine several amazing meetings have taken place, some brilliant work has been done, and this particular project has been a success. What had to happen to get you there?

If you can work backwards from success to your current state, focusing only on the necessary steps, the next action will become clear. So, what has to happen next? It’s likely to be more concrete than “have a chat.”


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© 2022 Brian David Hall