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Blog | 08.09.2016

Eight Proven Steps to Plan and Run Productive Meetings

Meetings: those time-sucking, yawn-inspiring, soul-crushing, tedious necessities of working life. Can’t do anything without them, can’t do anything with them. Studies have indicated that meetings are a waste of time, sometimes up to 40-50%, and most of them are basic staff meetings with no particular agenda. The best personal productivity software can’t help you if your meetings take up half your working time.

However, meetings can be productive, if planned well and conducted well. If you work with a team and need to group regularly to keep things moving, consider these tips when planning your next meeting.

#1 Avoid unnecessary meetings

The best kind of meeting is one that doesn’t happen. Before getting people to leave their work, check if you can get the same result with a call or through email.

#2 Don’t sit

Research has shown that stand-up meetings tend to be shorter and more productive.

#3 Set an agenda

Decide the agenda for the meeting beforehand and ensure every participant is aware of it. Meetings without an agenda tend to go in all possible directions, and there is no conclusive outcome.

#4 Stick to the agenda

It’s very easy to get diverted. Once you set an agenda, make sure you do not discuss anything outside of that. This way, the meeting will be relevant, people will be prepared and there will be a greater chance of arriving at an outcome.

#5 Assign action items

End each meeting with a concrete plan of action for every item on the agenda. Make sure there is a clear delegation of responsibility for every item.  This makes it easier for follow-ups.

#6 Stick to the meeting times

Effective time management techniques dictate that meetings should be short, preferably 30 minutes or less. Be respect full of punctual people by not waiting for latecomers.

#7 Invitees only

Choose your meeting attendees carefully. Invite only those that are absolutely necessary to be there. It’s bad enough that meetings could waste time; just don’t waste it for many. Also, keep a lookout for these other office time wasters.

#8 No technology, please

Keep your meeting room clear of all laptops and mobile phones. Besides being a distraction, these can waste a lot of time.

These simple hacks are productivity improvement techniques that will get the most of your meetings, without losing time or patience. For more such ideas on improving productivity, download The Ultimate Guide of Over 100 Productivity Tips. To learn more about our personal productivity and time management software, visit

PS: Sapience is a time-tracking program, your personal analytics app, that will keep track of your activities and time on the computer – emails, chat, social media, calls, meetings, and core activities. At the end of the month, you can go through the work pattern analysis report and know your most productive hours, work patterns and time wasters. It’s a great way to create your personal productivity system.