Back to back meetings can overwhelm your days and leave you with hardly any time to get anything else done. You can give yourself some much needed wiggle room with the meeting margin method. Photo by George Redgrave.
If you don't take a break between meetings, you don't have time to reflect on what your meetings accomplish or set things in motion. On the Study Hacks blog, Cal Newport recommends a simple strategy to keep back to back meetings from eating up your entire schedule so you can keep productive:
Assume you have to schedule a meeting that lasts X minutes. Instead of blocking off X minutes on your calendar, block off (1.5)*X minutes. For example, if you agree to attend a 30 minute meeting starting at 2:00 pm, try to block out 2:00 to 2:45 on your calendar. Similarly, if it was a 60 minute meeting, try to block out 2:00 to 3:30. And so on.
The key is to keep your meeting to its originally proposed length, and keep those extra minutes for yourself to use as needed. You're not extending the length of the meeting, just the time you blocked out for it. This gives you time to process what was discussed, catch up on things like emails and phone calls you may have missed during the meeting and get started on the real work to turn your meeting's ideas into actions. This extra time also lets you take a break if you need it to de-stress, grab another cup of coffee or have a snack.
Schedule Meeting Margins [Study Hacks]