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Build in Breaks
Loose five minutes and work better
You can break the infinite loop of back-to-back meetings. Start meetings five minutes later than usual. You are likely already scheduling them to end 5 minutes later than usual already. But that doesn't work, does it?
I would rather have 25 minutes of someone on top of their game than 30 minutes of someone thinking about a break. Meetings are expensive. When I schedule time with people, it's to make decisions and have active discussions.
Google Calendar lets you automatically end meetings five minutes early. This is a useless feature I’ve never seen followed in the real world. *Cough* Parkinson's Law *Cough* The only way to ensure people get a break is to start later.
The extra five minutes are an opportunity for everyone invited. It can be a much-needed bio-break, lets them check an urgent message, or walk to the next meeting room. You can run your last meeting over time to finish those final decisions. The point is the time is available to everyone invited.
Whoever scheduled the meeting before yours will use every moment they can with who they have scheduled. The only way to build in a break is to give up your meeting time. It's worth the five minutes.
Continuous meetings are mentally draining. The value of these five-minute breaks goes beyond logistical benefits. They are small windows of empathy to your coworkers. They offer a mental and emotional reset for everyone involved. Our minds need time to refresh and refocus.
These short intervals provide a much-needed opportunity for everyone to catch a breath, recalibrate, or prep for my meeting. It's about respecting individual needs and mental space to enhance team productivity.
I've noticed a positive change by promoting these breaks. Even when people miss the start time and ping me, they still get something done during that time. Now people know I build that in and comment on how useful it is to have that time. People arrive refreshed, less distracted, and ready to contribute.
Start your meetings five minutes late. I’ll thank you for it.
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