Who controls your calendar?
For many of us, the answer seems to be “everyone” and simultaneously “no one.” This dilemma poses significant challenges. Let’s explore why and propose solutions.
I frequently hear from clients and friends about the challenges of managing packed schedules filled with back-to-back meetings. A prevalent piece of advice is to reserve time on your calendar for focused work, deep thinking, or even a recharge. On the surface, this seems like sound advice.
However, the crux of the matter is our inability to maintain these blocks. The refrain I often hear is, “I’ve blocked out the time, yet others schedule over it.” The result? Lost opportunities to think, work, or recharge, keeping everyone trapped in a never-ending cycle of excessive meetings.
Why this compulsion to be perpetually available?
Possible reasons include:
- Reluctance to decline requests
- Fear of missing out
- Concern about being perceived as uncooperative or not a team player
This often leads to a dangerous assumption that our constant availability is the sole metric that demonstrates our value.
In my coaching sessions, I encourage clients to introspectively ask, “What is mine to do?” This question nudges them to define their unique role and value within their job. With clarity in this area, you might discern that attending every meeting doesn’t truly align with or enhance your value proposition.
The next time you notice someone scheduling over your designated blocks, consider the following:
- Default to declining or rescheduling the meeting.
- Evaluate the meeting’s significance based on its topic, attendees, or urgency. Does it take precedence over your other tasks?
- If you choose to participate, consciously acknowledge the reasons driving that decision.
Perhaps, if more professionals embraced this discerning approach, our workplaces might experience a decrease in unnecessary meetings altogether.