When you schedule time for your appointments, you'll probably find a way to fill that time, whether you need it or not. So, the next time you need to schedule a meeting, don't give it an hour. Make 30 minutes your default.
Picture: Arjan Richter/Flickr
As productivity writer Brad Feld explains, an hour seems like a decent default block of time to give appointments. However, it doesn't matter how long most of your meetings are scheduled for. If you made your meetings three hours long, you'll probably find a way to fill those three hours. So, unless you absolutely know you'll need the extra time, make your appointments 30 minutes long:
I've tried it all. 60 minutes. 15 minutes. 5 minutes. 45 minutes. 37 minutes. The only thing that I've found that works is 30 minutes. If I schedule for 15 minutes, I inevitably have too many things in a day and get completely exhausted. If I schedule for more than 30 minutes, I find myself twiddling my thumbs and trying to get finished with the meeting. 30 minutes seems to be the ideal amount to get any type of meeting done.
Not everything can be done in 30 minutes, but you can probably pull off more than you think you can. Even if you're not sure, give yourself the challenge and see if you can get through the essentials without wasting time. If you can, you've just (potentially) doubled the amount of time you have in the day. If not, you can always go back to longer meetings for those that need it.