How to manage the work from home calendar crush
Calendar Crush is the inevitable growth in diarised audio or video interactions when working from home. When you work remotely seemingly every small conversation, that might usually happen over the desk or by the water cooler, becomes an appointment no shorter than 30 minutes in your calendar.
The result is a calendar that is back to back. The outcome sees you move from call to call all day every day, without being given the opportunity for pause, thinking time, drafting meeting notes or actions and outputs.
So what can you do about it?
Don’t round up!
If you think something can be discussed in 20 minutes, make the meeting 20 minutes long. We all too easily fall into the habit of making a 30-minute meeting the standard, even if we know the topic only demands 10 – 15 minutes tops. And if it’s a more in-depth discussion, we all know that the 30-minute meeting becomes 60 minutes rather than the 45 or 50 minutes it really needs.
Get out of that habit and you’ll find yourself stealing back minutes that add up at the end of the day, and give you some much need time to send that actions & outputs email or think about the next steps.
Don’t Write – Record
We’ve all experienced being in a meeting, furiously scribbling or typing down as much information as you can gather and slowly realising that you no longer have any idea what they are speaking about – the topic has changed but you were too busy typing it all out to notice.
So our suggestion is to stop taking notes. There are so many ways to get transcriptions of meetings, whether it’s through the conference call platform you use or a third party. Stop playing catch up and actually engage, add your input, be heard and be involved that’s how you add value to the conversation, by being present.
There are so many platforms offering free transcription of your audio recording, however this does often hinge on having a Pro, business or enterprise account in which case you may want to look into using a transcription service to quickly turn your recording into a transcript.
This also may be the preferred option for more important meetings where the accuracy of human transcription is preferable over the speech-to-text technology often used by conference call platforms.
How to make the most of the calls you can’t get out of?
The internet is flooded with tips and tricks on how to save time and not get trapped on a hamster wheel of conference calls, but for some us, hours spent on conference calls is just the nature of the job. So we’ve put together a list of how you can make the most of them.
- If you record your calls, note down the timestamps of actions you need to take or instructions you wanted to refer back to. So instead of trawling through 50 minutes (see what we did there?) of a meeting, you can jump straight to the important stuff.
- Use Video. Staying engaged when you have back to back meetings is hard. Only made harder if you are staring at a blank screen, finding yourself zoning in and out. Encourage your colleagues to join you in using video. It helps keep you and others stay engaged, and if you’re lucky someone’s cat might choose to join you.
- Use visual aids. In-person – gestures, facial expressions and movement keeps us engaged with the presenter. That may not be possible over conference call so if you are the one presenting, consider the use of visual aids. It gives the attendees something to look at and engage with.
If you have any tips on making the most or managing the conference call circus we have all found ourselves in, please connect with us on social media and let us know!
And finally – As Ever – Book Time for the Non-Meeting Work You Need to do
Only half of your time should be spent meeting with others.
Block your diary for work you know you need to get done and treat it as if it was a meeting, i.e. not immovable but not any less important, and leave the remaining time to deal with emails and anything/everything else that comes up.