March 9, 2021•324 words
Reading time: 1-2 min
I'm being asked to attend meetings left and right these past couple of weeks. For over half of them, I have to beg the question: What are we meeting for? And am I actually needed?
I find most meetings to be a general waste of time.
Unclear goals, non-participant participants, and idle time add up to time that is wasted that I could have spent on doing something else, likely working on something that's more urgent or important to me.
I acknowledge that I'm being harsh. But time is precious, not just for me, but for all participants of the meeting. Each additional person is increasing the multiplication factor for time spent/wasted. While one could argue me spending an hour on video games is a waste of time, I would argue that doing so would at least contribute to my immediate happiness, whereas me sitting in a meeting for the same duration and rolling my eyes due to the lack of need for me to be there contributes to my immediate suffering.
Whenever I encounter a meeting nowadays, I evaluate the following:
- Is there an actual need for a synchronous meeting?
- Am I needed there? Can I actually contribute something? (Or can I just view the summary and tasks afterwards?)
- Is there a clear agenda to go through? (Shared in advance?)
If I answer no to at least 2 of these, I will raise it to the group.
I'm not quite as extreme as Elon Musk, who noted that we should "[w]alk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value ... [i]t is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time", although I completely agree with the messaging.
Avoid meetings like the plague- your time and your peer's time are more precious than that.