We’re all using video calling on a daily basis now. If your company is anything like BTCSoftware, you probably have been looking for ways to streamline internal meetings and chats, so here’s how we’ve been able to reduce overall time spent in meetings by roughly 25%:

The three-minute rule

This golden rule means that meetings start on time, so set a rule that your team will get underway after just three minutes of wait for latecomers. This is especially effective for larger meetings where you might have several employees waiting for one person to arrive before you begin. Perhaps they are in another meeting that’s over-running, or maybe their internet is completely down. That’s why, after three minutes, you introduce your topic and stay on track.

Block your time for more focus

Legendary author of The Psychology of Computer Programming, Gerald Weinberg, demonstrated that each extra task or ‘context’ you switch between consumes between 20 and 80% of your overall productivity. Being able to block out time for uninterrupted focus on one task is therefore key to working effectively (and with less stress!) and hopping into meetings works against that. So, if you know you need to chat with three different teams today, try to schedule them back to back or within the same morning. By compressing your calendar, you will have more continuous time to focus during the rest of the day.

Observe Parkinson’s Law

It started out as a humorous essay in the Economist, but Cyril Northcote Parkinson’s Law has become a rule of thumb for effective working. The law states that work expands to fill the time allotted, so if you set a meeting for an hour, your attendees will absolutely talk for the whole hour! Streamline those meetings to 25 minutes (see tip 4!) and you might be surprised at how much you can cover in less time.

Take a minute (or 5) to boost energy

Another stat for you to support this one – a study of Israeli judges found that without taking breaks the rate of paroles granted eventually dropped close to 0% because judges resorted to the easiest and safest option and simply said no. That’s decision fatigue, and in meetings you will usually be making plenty of decisions, so take back 5 minutes for a break, especially if you’ve got back-to-back chats booked. Plus, scheduling meetings for 25 minutes gives you a chance to get a drink and stretch – your physical and mental wellness is just as important as your productivity!

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