5 Ways Successful Women Get Rid of Unnecessary Meetings From Their Calendars

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Fairygodboss Staff

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Megan Leasher928
talent strategist + bourbon lover
July 14, 2024 at 12:57PM UTC

Sometimes a writer writes to impart wisdom on the world. Other times, a writer writes to learn. This is one of those times. When the idea for this article came my way, my first thought was “Wow, I sure need to read that article, my calendar is a mess!” and here I am, writing it. I’m not blessed with all of the answers. I have a few ideas and, more importantly, have surrounded myself with a cavalry of successful, ridiculously impressive women who help me along the way.  That’s what we do for each other, right?

Below are five ideas from successful women I surround myself with who collectively desire to help us all be better.

1. Protect your time. 

In days with an onslaught of meetings, it can be hard to feel like we have gotten anything done.  It’s a common plague we have all endured. We like to feel included and we don’t like to say “no,” so we freely give up our time. As a result, we end up hating ourselves because we have given all of our time to others and not reserved any time for our own sanity. 

Setting calendar-blocked focus time is critical for our productivity, clarity of thought and preserving the right mindset. Maybe your focus time is each morning, maybe it’s over the lunch hour, or maybe it varies. Protect your time, communicate to others that it is YOUR time and yours alone, and hold firm so others know you mean it.

2. Preview the agenda.  

Do you know it’s ok to ask for an agenda before accepting a meeting?  In some organizations, it’s expected to include an agenda with a meeting invite. In other organizations, it’s practically unheard of.  Asking for the agenda in advance doesn’t make you a jerk. It helps you make an informed decision as to whether or not you need to attend. Perhaps you do, as you will be driving a big part of the conversation. Maybe you don’t, as you’re simply a recipient of what will be discussed and it’s ideal for you to be informed of the meeting outcomes after it has been held. Maybe it’s really someone else who needs to be there, and delegating is the answer.  

Asking to preview the agenda places accountability on the meeting coordinator to have clarity regarding topics, goals and desired outcomes. We won’t know unless we ask.

3. Delegate.  

Never forget that delegating is a powerful weapon in your arsenal.  A weapon us ladies should use more often, in my honest opinion.  Delegating a meeting to someone else does not make us weak.  It makes us strong. Strong enough to boldly proclaim, “I am confident that this person can lead a meeting and be a rockstar.”  

Delegating a meeting might create an opportunity for the delegate to be seen as amazing for the very first time in someone else’s eyes. Delegating isn’t about giving up control, it’s about bestowing the spotlight on someone who deserves to shine. And it’s just a meeting — a perfect tactical moment to give someone else a chance to lead and free you up to spend time driving strategy.

4. Consider alternate ways to be engaged.  

Another way to get rid of unnecessary meetings on your calendar is to consider alternate, yet practical routes of engagement. Perhaps you might be able to provide your perspective on a topic before a meeting over email or through project management documents. Perhaps someone could be designated to take notes during a meeting and provide all invitees an email summary of what was discussed and what decisions were made. Perhaps the meeting could be recorded so that you can watch relevant segments at a later time that works better with your schedule. We can be creative AND still take control of our calendars.

5. Say “no.”  

Decline the meeting; “No” is a complete sentence. Don’t feel guilty. There is only one of you and you can’t be everywhere for everyone in every moment.  The message here is to not feel obligated to say yes to everything you’re invited to. The world will still turn, and people will live to see another day if you didn’t attend a meeting.  You’ve got this. 

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for getting rid of unnecessary meetings from your calendar? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.

Megan Leasher is the Chief Solutions Strategist for Talent Plus, a global HR-solutions firm whose mission is to leverage science to help people and organizations discover and develop talent, creating a world where people do what they are good at and enjoy.  A member of the Forbes HR Council, Megan has been named as one of HR’s Rising Stars by Human Resource Executive Magazine and The 10 Most Influential Leaders in HR by Insights Success Magazine. Megan lives in northern Kentucky, where she loves coffee, bourbon, and Converse Chuck Taylors. Click here to follow Megan on LinkedIn.

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