Why So Many Meetings?

Why So Many Meetings?
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Is it just me, or does the average professional adult sit through a TON of meetings everyday?  In fact, maybe you’re secretly reading this blog while sitting through one…don’t worry I won’t tell anybody.  Looking back at my last 40-hour work week I sat through just under 20 hours of meetings, which is about average for me (although like you I worked more like a 55 hour work week).

Now let me be clear, I’m not complaining about this…well maybe a little bit.  Much of what we discuss in these meetings is important, especially when we’re discussing students, but the ratio between meetings to work seems a little disproportionate.  Imagine if your car had the same kind of MPG?  Would you put up with 1 mile per gallon?  Just think if you had the same sleep ratio of 12 hours of sleep for 12 hours of work…

Last year I stumbled across this TED Talk that explores this issue, take a look.

After watching this TED Talk last year I took Jason Fried’s advice and cancelled my next meeting.  Looking back now I can’t really recall what I was planning to discuss with my team, which might be a testament that too many of my meetings are organized for negligible reasons. Still, despite my efforts last year, my life is still filled with meetings.  So what gives?

As I’ve been thinking about this post over the last few days I’ve wondered whether this “glut” of meetings is a generational thing.  Do you think as millennials begin to occupy more office’s of leadership at schools and other organizations that there will be the same amount of meetings?  Maybe.  I asked a colleague of mine this same question, and they suggested that it could also be a gender thing, meaning women tend to schedule more meetings.  I suppose that could be, but I haven’t gathered any evidence on this, and I’ve sat through plenty a-meeting led by men.

So what do you think, is your day filled with meetings?  Are you constantly looking for time at work to work?  Is it gender or generationally specific?  Or something else?  Leave your comment below, and share this post with your colleagues who are in those meetings with you.

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Author: Andy Aldrich

Andy is a founder of Learn[ed]Leadership as well as a school administrator at Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. In addition to pontificating on ideas in education, Andy stays busy chasing after his daughter and impressing his wife with his big muscles.

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