I participated in a meeting today that was scheduled to last one hour. There were three of us in one room, and two people on the phone in two different locations. We were grappling with a tough topic and trying to resolve a long-standing challenge. For an hour, we bounced around ideas, pushed each other’s thinking and asked the hard questions. When we were ten minutes past our allotted meeting time, we were quickly able to come to consensus on next steps and figure out a strategy to move forward.
I have found the same thing happens when I am under a deadline: I may have had weeks to write a proposal, but more often than not, I finish it the day before (giving myself enough time to send it to my QA department). It’s actually how I managed my project work: I set check-in calls with clients to keep me on schedule and moving forward. It is great motivation, and I’m thankful that I learned this method a long time ago (although it took awhile for me to accept it).
After walking away from the meeting today, I wondered: if we had kept the meeting to 30 minutes, would we have come to the same conclusions? But then I wondered if I had missed some great brainstorming opportunities with clients? I don’t think there is a right answer for all of us, but I do think there is balance. Determining how much time we have to set aside to get it right versus spinning our wheels, is a challenge to figure out. But once we do, we’ll be effective and efficient.