Unplanned meetings are a waste of time. I’ve discussed interruptions, procrastination, and prioritization in previous time management posts. Today, I’ll talk about poorly planned meeting plans. The proverb, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail,” warns us of the significance of planning to our success. Poor, little, or no planning is also a huge time waster.

Unplanned Meetings Are a Waste of Time 

Poorly Planned Meeting

Tackling a project without proper planning will, at least, prolong the project. If not, cause it to fail. Check out this example of a poor plan that does not achieve the desired result (my cat likes this video.)

Another example of poor planning is not creating clear organizational goals or creating goals without the required training to reach those goals and creating an action plan. Creating goals without training or a plan to achieve them is nearly the same as having no goals.

The same can be said for a lack of policies (what), procedures (how), missions (why), and vision (where we are going). If your organization doesn’t have these in place, establish them. (If you would like ideas on how to get started, contact me.)

Consider These Two Points When Evaluating Your Time and Planning

  • Unrealistic timeframes may lead to rushing the project, which often causes mistakes. When mistakes are made, time is wasted with “do-overs.”
  • Messy work areas and useless, outdated papers piled high may interfere with the planning process (Do you really need those notes from 2017?).

Ineffective Meetings

Unplanned or poorly planned meetings are almost always a time waster. Impromptu meetings quickly become unfocused (think Steve Carell in The Office). The number of attendees multiplies the time wasted in unplanned meetings.

Survey says … two of the top five time wasters are — drum roll please — too many meetings and meetings that are too long. What’s worse than an elongated meeting is an unnecessary meeting. A friend texted me last week on the way to a pre-staff meeting – that’s a meeting about a meeting!

“Many executives feel overwhelmed by meetings, and no wonder: On average, they spend nearly 23 hours a week in them, up from less than 10 hours in the 1960s. What’s more, the meetings are often poorly timed, badly run, or both.” — Harvard Business Review

Monologues without participation from the group will bore others to distraction, which is a waste of time. Scheduling many meetings may seem productive, but too often, it is the opposite.

So how do you plan your meetings? Do you have effective, shared goals? How much time do you spend in meetings, and how productive are the meetings? And, of course, I’d love to hear your humorous or horrific meeting stories!

If you’d like to know how to plan an effective meeting, try this, How to Plan an Effective Meeting.

If I can answer any questions, leave me a note in the comments. We’ll schedule a meeting.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.