Schedule Shorter Meetings By Changing Your Calendar's Defaults

Schedule Shorter Meetings by Changing Your Calendar's Defaults

Meetings can be notorious time wasters. To make them short and to the point, change your office calendar's default meeting length.

Picture: geralt

Harvard Business Review discusses how environment can affect behaviour. They suggest that if you want to influence someone's habits, you should analyse their environment and find ways to make "desirable actions easy and undesirable actions difficult". In the case of scheduling shorter meetings, they explain:

organise the office calendar program in which the default meeting length is 15 or 30 minutes rather than an hour and needs to be adjusted to be longer if necessary. Although people will still end up scheduling a number of hour-long meetings, the need to expend energy to override the standard option will shorten many of the items that end up on people's schedules.

Google's calendar settings, for example, give you the option of changing the default event duration. They even offer an option for "speedy meetings", in which meetings end five or ten minutes early. Of course, you may not have control over this, but if you do, it's worth a shot. It might also help to tell colleagues what you've done, because it's not necessarily about manipulating their behaviour so much as it is setting a precedent for making meeting times shorter by default. Check out HBR's full post at the link below.

Influence People by Leveraging the Brain's Laziness [HBR]


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