In 2015, we made a series of changes to improve the way we do business at Polar Notion. One of the most impactful changes involved meetings.
As a design and development team, meetings surround projects and projects pay the bills. So, when our workload increased tremendously in 2015, the number of meetings increased with it. As one might speculate, managing current workload with prospective projects became difficult. In September alone, roughly 50% of my time was spent:
- in meetings
- scheduling meetings
- planning for meetings
- following up from meetings
- traveling/transitioning to and from meetings.
If we were going to complete everything we were being hired for, something had to change. Realizing there was only so much we could do to to address item #1, we began to take a look at the remaining items. After some discussion, we realized that #4, traveling and transitioning to-from meetings, was one of the largest time wasters. Whether onsite, offsite, or conference call, physically and mentally transitioning takes time away from productivity.
So, after a few discussions, we arrived at a solution:
Thursdays are meeting days.
Moving all meetings to a single day created a number to short-term and longterm wins:
- One day each week leaves the reset of the week wide open for actually getting the work done with few distractions.
- We’re able to head into Thursdays with a different mindset. Our priority shifts from executing to listening and dialoguing.
- Knowing we’ve cleared the time in our schedule allows us to be fully present, not worrying about the work that’s not getting done (this actually makes the meeting more productive).
- Scheduling meetings takes less time. When we’re asked, “when can you meet?” we always have an answer.
- The dead time between meetings can be used to recap/followup instead of postponing for a later distraction.
- Scheduling back-to-back meetings is great accountability to stay on point and prevent a 30 minute phone call from stretching to 2 hours. (we’ve all been there)
- Worst case scenario, a Thursday packed full of meetings still leaves us 80% of our week to get work done. (a vast improvement)
Here are some questions I wrestled with at first, or have heard from people when I mentioned the change.
What happens when Thursday is booked? There’s always next Thursday.
What if they need to meet sooner or at another time? Then we accommodate. (Though there are few things in life that can’t wait a week.)
Are clients willing to do that? It’s not something we communicate to everyone but by and large, more people appreciate the consistency than oppose it. For those that are aware, they know there is a dedicated time each week we’ve set aside for them. (people like it when you make time for them)