Damn the dysfunctional diary!
Not for the first time this week I have just caught myself saying “I’ve been back-to-back all day.” This is followed by a weird and wonderful range of stretches in the kitchen to try and get the knots out of my shoulders from being slumped in front of the screen, whilst my long-suffering husband tries not to roll his eyes as I moan on about not having time for a pee let alone a decent lunch break.
What has happened to us all in this modern new working world? Can you imagine booking a room in the office for an entire day and just have a string of people waiting outside to file in one after the other whilst you wonder how fast you can run in your slippers to get a cup of tea?
In the good old days, we still had lots of meetings but rarely back-to-back. The availability of meeting rooms meant not everybody could be in meetings all the time. It provided a natural break. A break that enabled the bare necessities of a human to be met, yes, I mean P and a T, but it also gave us time to regroup, to process the thoughts from the last meeting, and then to prepare for the next meeting. You showed up to meetings, prepared and focused on the conversation to come. Now we rock up flustered, ill prepared and hoping somebody is late to give you a chance to pop off to grab a comfort break.
So, damn our dysfunctional diaries for doing this to us! It must be the diary, mustn’t it? We wouldn’t accept these meetings or book these meetings that then make our diary look like a Tetris game, would we?
Really, why are we doing this to ourselves? How badly did our parents and teachers brainwash us? Think about it, every meeting starts on the hour or half past. Every meeting is in multiples of 30 minutes. It must be how they taught us to tell the time. What did 9.09am do so wrong that it cannot be a start time? How does the poor 20 minutes feel being overlooked by the 30 minutes every time?
How much better would our virtual world be if we:
- Booked meetings for 20 or 50 minutes to allow a break either at the start or end of a meeting.
- Respected other people’s diaries and if they have a meeting that finishes at 10.30 book our meeting to start at 10.38, or 10.45 if it makes you feel more comfortable. (Don’t even get me started on the double bookers..)
- Empowered ourselves to say no to a meeting request if we already have enough meetings that day. Let’s promote the much neglected “propose new time” button.
I am going to try it. I am going to attempt to train my dysfunctional diary. I want to get back to going to meetings prepared and ready to focus on what needs to be achieved. If a side effect happens to be that I also have a cuppa and do not have to sit with my legs crossed, well then that is a bonus!
Karen Morris, Chief Financial Officer