6 Ways to Make Meetings More Productive

6 Ways to Make Meetings More Productive

Meetings suck. We all know that. We also know that most meetings accomplish absolutely nothing after sitting through an hour of awkward pauses and bloated egos. Fear not! For we have 6 ways to make meetings more productive (and less annoying).

Empty Conference Room

1. Only Schedule A Meeting When Absolutely Necessary
Meetings are the bane of productivity, so try limiting yourself to only the most unavoidable and necessary situations before scheduling one.

Before you hit the scheduler in Outlook or Gmail, take 30 seconds to stop and think if the issue can be resolved without pulling people out of their offices for an hour. Most situations don’t need to be met about. Try dropping by someone’s desk to ask a few questions instead. Or maybe send a quick email asking people to respond with answers to a few set questions.

2. Decide Who Really MUST Be There
If you absolutely must schedule a team meeting, think about who really has to be there and who can continue doing their work without interruption. Just like most situations can be resolved without a meeting, they can also be resolved with a minimal amount of people.

Limit your meeting to only the brightest minds that are pivotal to project success. ‘Nuff said.

3. Set Strict Accomplishment Goals
Once you’ve determined that you DO need to set a meeting and know who should be there, begin setting strict goals on what must be accomplished during the meeting.

You should outline roughly 2-3 primary goals that should be finalized during the meeting time frame. You don’t want to waste an hour of everyone’s time and have nothing to show for it, do you?

4. Make An Outline
Knowing your goals should help you lay down a very simple outline that should be followed to a “T” when conducting your meeting. We know this may sound a little boring, but trust us, you’ll get things done and get them done quickly.

Outline your primary goals and what you confirm or develop in order to achieve those goals. Lay this out from meeting start to finish and follow it. FOLLOW IT!

5. Stick to the Timeline
We said follow your meeting outline, didn’t we? Well, not only should you follow the outline, but you should also stick to a timeline. If you allotted one hour for your meeting, stick to it. If you reach the hour mark and you haven’t met all of your goals, tough luck buttercup. Pack it up and figure out what you have and what you still need.

Chances are good that anything that was missed can be finished in an email or a quick phone call.

On the flip side, if you finish your meeting early and complete all of your goals….pack it up. There’s no reason to milk that hour meeting if you don’t need it. Pat yourself on the back for being efficient, and go back to work!

Meeting

6. Get Right Down to Business. Don’t Visit.
Get right into the thick of things if you must set a meeting. Don’t bring donuts or bagels. Don’t shoot the shit about who went out last night and what you’re doing after work.

Don’t dawdle. No one likes it when you shuffle your feet. Get right down to business and get things done quickly, efficiently and correctly. You’ll be happy and your team will thank you.

In Conclusion…
Meetings can be beneficial. They can be good for your team and your soul, you just have to do them right. So, follow the above six basic rules to making meetings more productive and you’ll never have anyone fall asleep at the conference table again.

Do you have a good, self-learned tactic to keeping meetings on track and productive? Share them with us in the comments below!

7 Ways to Make Working from Home More Productive

Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans works from home, according to Forbes? That’s crazy! But the truth is many of you are probably working from home right now, just like we are. No doubt that maintaining your resolve to do actual work when you’re in your pajamas, instead of games or Facebook, is a nearly impossible task. God knows that even the best of us have a hard time focusing. We sure do.

Here are 7 ways to make working from home more productive.

1. Have a Dedicated Office Space in Your Home

Having a dedicated office space makes a huge difference in how you view working from home, and how you function. Believe us; our home office used to be at the kitchen table…right in the middle of the action. It didn’t work.

Have a dedicated office space.

Now we have a dedicated office corner, and it makes a world of difference. Perceiving your work as actual work begins and ends with where you do that work. Make it official, and make it yours.

2. Treat It Like A Normal Job

What we mean is, don’t come to work in your PJs or with a hangover. You wouldn’t do that if you were working for someone else, would you? No. Then don’t do it to yourself.

When you treat working like home as a normal job, you will begin to have much more respect for the work you’re doing and maintaining productivity will be all downhill from there.

Mind you; this isn’t always easy. We still struggle with this on occasion (we also struggle with getting up early, ugh). One thing that will help is….

3. Set A Reasonable Schedule

Setting a reasonable work schedule and sticking to it will help you begin to treat working from home with more respect. We understand that you chose to work from home for the added flexibility, but that doesn’t mean getting up at noon and working for 2 hours.

Set a reasonable schedule.

If you want to work from 9-2, do it. Just make sure that you’re up, showered and dressed by 9 am and ready to hit the desk.

4. Set Goals to Accomplish Each Day

Goals are huge and necessary for a productive home office. We are notorious list-makers, but we also made a list of our favorite organizational tools here. Use one or all of these and set your goals for each day, week and month.

If you don’t set goals, you won’t get anything done. Honestly, you’ll end up dicking around on Facebook or playing Candy Crush for half your day. We’ve been there. Just set strict goals and hold yourself to them. Or, better yet…have someone else hold you to it. Accountability buddies are a great thing, and your friends will be happy to kick your ass when you need it.

5. Take Normal Breaks

Seriously, take breaks. There have been tons of studies done that prove taking regular breaks from work increases productivity tremendously.

Take normal breaks.

Here are 3 great articles that explain this: The Atlantic | Buffer | Entrepreneur

This means that you should take a regular lunch break, don’t eat at your desk. Go outside and take in the sunshine for 15 minutes. Go for a walk. Do something that clears your mind and gets your eyes off that computer screen. You’ll thank us.

6. Be Active During the Work Day

Being active doesn’t necessarily mean getting one of those ridiculous treadmill-desk contraptions. It simply means that you should take a few minutes every so often to get your blood pumping. An easy way to do this is to combine your activity with your breaks, as we described above.

Adding a bit of activity into your workday to get your heart rate up and get blood pumping also increases productivity. So, it’s pretty much a no brainer.

Also, 3 articles that explain this: Forbes | Time Management Ninja | American Psychological Association

7. Do the Things That You Became An Entrepreneur To Do

Don’t get so caught up in the above 6 ways to make working from home more productive that you forget to do the things that made you become an entrepreneur.

Go out with friends. Catch that early movie. Schedule doctor and dentist appointments during the day. You can still do all of these things. Just always respect and never abuse your flexibility.

In Conclusion…

Working from home is a hard-won luxury, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. Like anything else worth having, treat it with respect and do your part to make things happen and it will be fine.