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3 Magic Tricks To Have a Productive Meeting

Business meetings are notorious time-sucks. What promised to be a productive hour soon devolves into tangents, unrelated questions, and circular arguments. For all that you accomplished, you could have just sent an email.

There are several ways to take back your time and ensure that you will have a productive meeting. The easiest are listed below.

Make your meetings shorter

Leadership expert Peter Bregman advocates for 30-minute meetings because they make participants hyper-aware of how their limited time is being used. This means fewer tangents and unrelated questions, with everyone focused on the task at hand. People also listen better when they are already focusing, making it less likely that any participants “zone out” over the course of the meeting. The shorter meetings incentivize participants to be on time, to arrive prepared, and to practice brevity given the limited time they have to accomplish the items on the agenda.

Make your meetings smaller

The more people in the room, the more likely it is that your meeting careens off track. Bob Pozen, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, senior fellow at Brookings Institute, and author of Extreme Productivity states that attendees who are not essential to the decision-making process are the ones most likely to send your meeting off the track. They are less likely to be invested and listening to what’s going on, and the larger number of people limits each individual’s feeling of responsibility for the meeting’s outcome.

Pozen recommends including only those individuals who are directly involved in the decision making process. If you are worried about offending someone who is left out, send an email summarizing what occurred during the meeting to keep them in the loop.

Make it a standing meeting

No, not standing as in weekly or regular. Standing as in actually standing. On your feet. Not only is this model better for your overall health –your metabolism is faster while you’re on your feet – it can cut your average meeting time by a whopping 34%. That’s because people are more likely to remain focused and alert during a standing meeting. And the desire to sit back down as soon as possible ensures that everyone will stay brief and to the point.

5 Tips To Increase Productivity at Work

Remaining productive at work is a breeze on some days and a significant challenge on others. No matter how hard we try, we cannot add more hours to the day. Our only options for increasing productivity in the office, therefore, are working smarter, or working harder. If you’re anything like us, you definitely prefer the latter.

In our experience, increasing productivity is easy when you employ a few of the five tips and tricks listed below.

1. Set Deadlines… And Stick To Them

While too much stress in the workplace can be distracting, and even damage your health, a small amount of self-imposed stress can actually make you more productive. Setting your own deadlines on when a project or assignment should be finished discourages procrastination and improves focus. It also allows you to track your progress, stay aware of your schedule, and ensure that you’re not spending too much time on any single task.

2. Take Short, Scheduled Breaks

You will find this piece of advice in every productivity checklist, but do you ever actually do it? Research shows that taking short breaks during long tasks – or long work days – allows you to maintain a consistent level of performance. Taking no breaks during long tasks leads to a steady decline in performance. So, when quality matters, give your brain a break!

3. Work in 90-Minute Intervals

Florida University researcher K. Anders Ericsson, who studies elite performers in athletic, artistic, and professional fields found that the best performers typically practice for no more than 90 minutes at a time. They start in the morning, take breaks between sessions, and rarely work for more than 4.5 hours a day. While this exact model may be hard to justify to your boss, the general structure should be easy enough to implement in your daily work routine.

4. Employ the Two-Minute Rule

The Two-Minute Rule is simple – if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, finish it immediately. Trust us, this is far quicker than remembering to come back to it later (if you actually do remember!), transitioning off of what you were doing previously, completing the task, and then transitioning back to the rest of your schedule.

5. Spend More Time Doing Less

A growing body of research shows that the less people work, the more productive they are. Seems contradictory, right? Perhaps not. Activities like sleeping, exercise, and yes, taking small breaks when needed, have been shown to dramatically increase employee performance. For example, a recent Harvard University study indicated that inadequate sleep costs American companies a whopping $63 billion each year! So, be sure to safeguard your down-time. It may just push you to the next level in your career.

Mastering Productive Office Conversations

Let’s face it, we’ve all made mistakes when it comes to productive office communication. Communication skills are something we all must practice every day, since evidence shows that poor communication in the office can lead to stress and even drops in performance. Here are some expert communication tips to help you maximize productivity and create positive working relationships with your supervisors and peers.

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