article by ‘Staff’ (no author cited) reposted from Lifehacker.co.uk
A few years ago I started enacting a “hard stop” mentality to most of the meetings and calls I had. Inspired by a few of the people I interviewed, who said they had a “hard stop” after 14 or 30 minutes, the practice makes it so you know what you’re doing has a definitive end time, facing you to get what you need to get done completed in the allotted time.
When you tell someone that you have to leave a meeting after a set amount of time, that person makes more of an effort to get to the point. They’re on time, ready to start your meeting or chat, and the whole thing moves significantly more efficiently.
In contrast, when I would just show up for that 10am meeting without establishing a hard end time, often the person I was meeting with would still be meeting with the reporter before me, pushing our meeting to 10:05 or 10:15. The first 10 minutes would be filled with that person getting coffee or waters, checking in with their secretary… stuff.
In the end, most of the meetings I’ve had that should have taken less than 30 minutes would run over an hour because there was so much unnecessary activity happening around them. Saying I had a hard stop after just 30 minutes made everything run much more efficiently.
Do I have somewhere to be in 30 minutes? Sometimes I do, sometimes that next place is my desk to work or a place to pick up lunch. The whole point is to dictate how much of your time you’re giving something, so it doesn’t hijack more of your day because it can.