If you can’t make your meetings better, at least make them shorter.
They lurk in every organization like sneaky assassins: ninja-like time thieves spying on your calendar, waiting to pounce on any open “availability” so they can plug it with an Outlook invite for an hour-long meeting you didn’t see coming.
The unsolicited invitations clog your calendar, giving you another back-to-back-to-back-to-back day with zero time left over to get real work done.
The moment others can change your calendar; your time no longer belongs to you.
Though you may not be able to keep others from taking your time, you can make it a bit harder for them to steal it.
Start setting 47-minute meetings.
First, few meetings need an entire hour. If you have a regular sixty-minute meeting, odds are you can focus a bit more and get it done in only forty-seven.
Second, by making your meetings a weird length, you force others to think twice (and do some math) before booking you in a back-to-back. The moment a meeting ends at 10:47, you’ve got at least 13 minutes before the next one because nobody else wants to invite others to a meeting that begins at 10:48.
Third, by beginning your 47-minute meetings at an odd time (like 9:37), you’ll buy some time before and after for both yourself and your attendees.
The 47-minute meeting isn’t rocket science, but by getting outside the box of hour-long meetings, you’ll retain some control over your calendar and regain some sanity in your work day.