Stop Stealing Productive Time

by | Productivity

Stop Stealing Productive Time

When I work with corporate clients, one of the biggest complaints is the number of daily meetings. Often, these meetings start first thing in the morning, which steals the most productive time for them to focus and do in-depth work. They may get little 30-minute breaks in between, only to find that they pick the low-hanging fruit, like email, because it's not long enough to feel effective at starting a task. They tell me they work at home because they can't get anything done at the office.

For the love of kittens, please stop scheduling morning meetings!

Wait until at least 10 or 11am but before 3:00pm, to have that meeting. Have global attendees? Find a way at least two days a week at your company to prohibit early morning meetings, for everyone. Or, have No-Meeting Fridays or something similar to allow all staff one day to finish work without taking it home. 

And what's so great about one hour? Just because it's the default in your Outlook doesn't mean it's the best time. Instead, shorten it to 45 minutes and give people fifteen minutes for a biology break or to get to the next meeting. The number #1 reason why people are late for a meeting? Because they're trying to close out and get to another meeting in the same 60 seconds!

Make those meetings standing meetings. No one will mess around if they have to stand. It also tells our brain we are working and not at leisure. An architectural firm in Canada tries to do all meetings under 30 minutes as standing meetings. Emaar Properties in Dubai has tall tables in their conference rooms, so people must stand.

Everyone needs deep work time. We need to focus. We would not think of interrupting a surgeon to ask a ‘quick question.' I would not think of interrupting my musician husband in the middle of a song, yet we always interrupt knowledge workers. Science has proven it takes 15-25 minutes to get focused and in the deep zone. Why do we think we are different?

When can you schedule your next focus time?

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on April 15

Want actionable, health-powered productivity tips in less than 15 minutes?
check out our podcast!


“Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.”

jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects


You have Successfully Subscribed!


millions of americans unplug on vacation... are you ready to be one of them?

Leave your work behind without the usual pile-up upon return. Get the secrets to come back Health-Powered™ and RECHARGED!

Check your inbox for the secrets.