Glance at the calendar of any executive or entrepreneur, and you’ll find it full to the brim with meetings, virtual or otherwise. That’s just how it seems to be; but, does it have to be that way?

Unnecessary meetings are held every day, and necessary meetings can run far too long. In between all of these meetings, it can be difficult to get work completed especially if you’re constantly being interrupted and robbed of precious time. This is time you can’t get back, no matter how hard you try. We falsely believe that meetings are a necessary evil – something we have to put up with because that’s the way things are done and have always been done. Of course, check-ins need to be had and issues monitored, but perhaps it’s time to consider eliminating gratuitous meetings and replacing them with more modern and effective alternatives and approaches.


If you are being bombarded with meetings you don’t have the power to cancel, at least prioritize those you attend. Learn to say no more often and allocate your time to events that will actually help you achieve your work goals, not hinder them. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try sending comments with another attendee or catching up on meeting notes after the fact to stay in the loop. Leave the guilt of non-attendance out of the equation.

Don’t be part of the problem.

Are you guilty of scheduling meetings that can otherwise be handled differently? Perhaps your meeting can be knocked out through another channel such as a messenger or maybe it’s a 5-minute check in versus an hour blocked off. If you struggle with your time, other employees or team members likely do as well. Be respectful.

Set ground rules.

Before you embark on yet another gathering, set yourself up for success with a few rules. Consider whether the topic can be solved using email. If so, do it. If not, can it be handled by a telephone call? A face-to-face meeting should be scheduled for high priority discussions or as a last resort.

Block out your time

Mark meeting-free periods on your calendar so your creative time is not constantly interrupted. If you don’t block it out, chances are someone will unknowingly try to book your time. If you need 2-3 hours to focus on an issue, add it. Effective time management is essential to get through the work day with your sanity intact.

Weigh the costs of meetings.

If a meeting runs for three hours and you expect 12 attendees, that is 36 hours of wasted time. Consider whether that’s employee time you’re willing to give up.  Will you recoup anywhere near the monetary value you just spent by holding the meeting? Putting meetings into financial perspective can be very eye-opening.

Use an app.

Consider replacing check-in meetings with a SaaS communication tool such as Slack or Basecamp. They not only allow everyone to update the team but also put the onus on the reader to check in at their own convenience. You can save thousands of dollars of company expenses by opting for online methods over face-to-face meetups. Online meetings via a meeting app allow a lot of information to be presented quickly which can then be read when time permits and then processed at your leisure.

If you find that some meetings are essential to your cause, follow these steps to help maintain their effectiveness long after they’re over.