Remember last time you were trying to get off a conference call you knew would be a waste of your time? What was the excuse that you used? Or did you just suck it up and tried to multi task during the muted call instead?
Often when giving a reason to avoid being involved in unwanted meetings or calls, we have to say we’re too busy, we have other arrangements or something urgent came up. Why do we have to justify freeing our schedule by being “busy”? Why “being busy” is something people eagerly understand? Of course because often its true. But if we say its an acceptable reason, means we’re cultivating certain respect to being busy and having a busy schedule.
What we really want say often is “I’m trying to be efficient and participating in this call has no added value to me, I’d rather go home and spend time with my family”.
But not in a way that you use all the time available for work and prioritize within it. Throw your personal life in a mix and prioritize that as well. Consider value of every activity on a larger scale of your life. You got 24 hours a day, how do you spend it? Do you really have to be on that call? Or can someone summarize 2 hours of talking in a brief email? Or maybe even that has no value to you at all. Don’t even read it then. As long as it doesn’t effect your short-term and long-term results – be efficient to work less. And maybe do something else more. Its your choice, but its good to have that choice.
Where to start? Stop drowning in unnecessary calls and meeting.
– Rethink you being present at meetings and calls:
– If its just about listening in, maybe someone can summarize the output of it in a brief message afterwards
– If you need to contribute – ask about specific time when you need to dial in
– If you a part of discussion – request the objective, the input information, so you come prepared and make it short
– Stop mute-multitasking while being on the call. If you are doing that – means you don’t need to be on that call. Either be present or hang up.
– Look at your schedule, what is the % of conference calls and meetings in your day? How can you decrease it?
Cultivate efficiency instead of a culture of being-busy. Make sure its clear what is valued more. Let people around you be efficient in work to be able to prioritize other things too.