The Best Way to Stop Wasting Time in Meetings

wasting time in meetings


Do you find yourself wasting time on endless meetings? Here’s the best way I’ve found to stop meetings from stealing my time.

Don’t have a meeting without an agenda or a time limit

Do not accept another meeting without an agenda and a time limit. There. That’s it. 

Professional to professional meetings need boundaries

If another professional wants to set up a meeting with you, insist they put the agenda in writing so you are both clear at the outset what the purpose of the meeting is. And set a time limit. Otherwise, my experience is that these business meetings suffer from Parkinson’s Law: that the meeting will simply expand to fill the time you allow for it. Setting an agenda forces you both to focus on what needs to be accomplished, and a time limit concentrates the mind to get that work done efficiently. I have been in a number of meetings where the professional who asked for it asked for 2-3 hours, but I could only afford to give them one hour. Each and every time, we have managed to achieve the expectations of the meeting in the limited time available!

This principle avoids wasting time on meetings where the professional who wants to meet with you simply says they’re coming along to “catch up with you” and “see how you’re doing”.

Be more available to those you pastor

Don’t misunderstand me. I am talking here about professional to professional meetings, not meetings with members of your congregation or others you are pastoring or counselling. There will be times when they drop in on you for a chat and the (unsaid) purpose of the meeting is about relationship building as much as anything else. That’s OK, and actually why I suggest stop wasting time on inefficient meetings with professionals. Being efficient about those meetings allows you more time to serve the Body of Christ you are called to.

Stop wasting time on meetings and serve your church well

Developing the habit of insisting on agendas and time limits for professional to professional meetings so you can give more time to your congregation and others will annoy some people. Some will get upset. If they don’t get similar requests from other leaders, they may accuse you of arrogance or thinking that your time is more important than anyone else’s. Don’t let them get to you. Serve your church or organisation well by not wasting time on meetings so you can give your people the pastoral care and concern they need.

Photo by Rodeo Project Management Software on Unsplash

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