The Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled Trapped in a Meeting: Logging How 500 CEOs Spend the Day. The article reported the outcomes from a study by the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School on how executives spend their time. A central finding was that CEOs spend about 1/3 of their time in meetings. Breaking down a 55-hour workweek, on average about 18 hours per week are consumed in meetings, 3 hours on calls, and 5 hours in business meals.
Of course, no one is surprised by the fact that a CEO is going to spend time in meetings with key staff, stakeholders, etc. However, the article has me thinking about the level of productivity that is achieved for each hour spent in meetings? Even though you may or may not be a CEO, how productive are you? If you spend a great deal of time in meetings and you are achieving your goals, something is working well so that’s a step in the right direction. However, if you find yourself struggling each week to advance your agenda, you may be on what I call the meeting treadmill. This is where you are working very hard, sweating and spending a bunch of time running (from meeting to meeting) but you go nowhere and in the end you are right where you started. Sure, if things are going well for you, you may need to turn on the incline so you can burn even more calories. But, if you are struggling, it may be time to get off the treadmill and talk with a trainer (or your administrative assistant) about making some changes in your workout. You may find yourself wanting to get off the treadmill all together, going outside for a run, and starting a new routine!
Are you on the unproductive meeting treadmill? Or, have you been able to figure out a productive meeting routine? Please share your thoughts.