Dealing with Meeting Fatigue

“Not another meeting,” you say. You’ve just attended one and you’re off to another. Before you know it, half the workday is over and you still got a lot to do at your desk. It’s no surprise that almost 50% of the 3,200 individuals surveyed by Salary.com believe that most meetings are a waste of time.

If you counted the number of hours you’ve spent attending meetings in a year, you’d be astounded by the sum total. On average, employees spend anywhere between 20 to 50 days a year for meetings. Is the time spent justifiable? We’ll leave you to answer that, but what we
can do is to suggest ways on how you can deal with meeting fatigue.

Respectfully decline or excuse yourself

You’re not totally powerless when someone in a higher position asks you to attend a meeting. If you have nothing to contribute or you’re being requested to join so you’ll be kept abreast of the latest, try to decline to attend. An e-mail will suffice if you need to be updated.

In many organizations, executives believe that meetings should only be held as a last resort. If there is no need for one, then they don’t call for one. They also realize that people who don’t need to attend meetings should not be asked at all. Apple is known for excusing employees who aren’t required to attend.

You’ve said your piece and have been told what to do next. If your presence is no longer necessary, then you can ask to be excused. In many organizations, it’s not considered impolite to leave while a meeting is ongoing. In fact, Elon Musk stated that asking people to
stay for no reason is rude.

Send a substitute

Can a colleague attend in your place? If you can delegate or ask someone to represent you in a meeting, so much the better. Your representative can update you later. This is standard practice in many organizations. Executives don’t mind alternates during sessions. Though you’ll have to return the favor.

Look on the bright side

You can’t decline, excuse yourself or send a substitute. In short, you’re stuck. So, make the most out of that meeting you can’t avoid. Don’t let your mind wander off or silently fume because you prefer doing something more pressing instead.

Topics for discussion unrelated to you, may bore you to death. But, you could learn something new which could come in handy in the future. It’s also your chance to get to know your coworkers more. You may not be aware of their opinions and their stand on many company-related issues. Decisions could be made that can also affect what you do. And, there’s always that unexpected announcement or revelation that may be important.

To Wrap Up

If you are a decision-maker, you can create a culture where meetings are only held if necessary. Also, you can make several changes to make these more efficient. On the other hand, if you’re like the rest of us, give one of our tips a try. You’ll find yourself less stressed and
more productive.

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