Project Management

Meeting of the minds: Avoiding Time Wasters

Heidi Hjerpe

With only so many hours in the workday, dropping everything for another meeting is a painful, all-too-common occurrence. In fact, 47 percent of employees said having to attend too many meetings is their biggest-time waster, according to’s global Wasting Time at Work 2012 survey.

The sheer quantity of meetings can destroy productivity, and their lack of quality doesn’t help either: 37 percent of respondents to an August TrackVia survey said at least half the time they spent in meetings was wasted. Less than 7 percent said meetings were totally productive.

Treating each meeting as a mini-project—including proper planning, execution and lessons learned—can transform it into the constructive and collaborative endeavor it ought to be.

Here are five ways project leaders can maximize the value of any meeting.

Plan Ahead

There is a tendency on project teams to call meetings for almost any reason and without forethought—an approach that doesn’t benefit anyone, says Luis Alejandro Flores, PMP, project manager officer in the project management office at Blue Label Telecoms in Mexico City, Mexico. “The outcome for many of those meetings is nothing, just meeting minutes that will end up consuming space in the mailbox, or simply an agreement that another meeting has to be scheduled,” he says.

Planning a …

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