Overcome Parkinson's Law
Parkinson’s Law is taking over. The basic thesis of Parkinson is: ‘Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.’
So I have called a meeting to discuss 1 small bug, should take 5 minutes, but call the meeting for 30 minutes. The meeting will last 30 minutes!
Further explanation from Parkinson:
“General recognition of this fact is shown in the proverbial phrase 'It is the busiest man who has time to spare.' Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half an hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar box in the next street. The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.”
So this has a lot to do with being efficient. Overcoming Parkinson’s Law is one the most liberating things that you can ever do. A big problem I have with meetings today in corporate American. They last forever and never accomplish anything. I hate when someone calls a meeting and there is no clear reason for it and then says “Stephen why don’t you start off the meeting.” Argh. So I put an end to this. Now my new rules for meetings are (and if they don’t meet this criteria, I don’t attend the meeting, unless the person calling the meeting is “important” J):
1. No meeting lasts more than 45 minutes
2. All meetings are "stand-up" meetings, nobody sits down
3. There are no meetings without an agenda
4. No meetings should have any food or drink allowed in them
5. No meetings at odd hours: 5pm, obvious lunch times, etc
When I was CTO over at Zagat, I also instituted a meeting free Friday, something that you may want to try at your place too. I got away with it by sending an all day meeting invite to my entire staff called “Staff Meeting” that had a recurrence on every Friday and then when other people used Outlook/Exchange to schedule a meeting, they were always booked on the Friday!!!
Even if you can’t control the 5 items above, you can always ask the meeting organizer to circulate an agenda before the meeting, this will get them thinking more efficiently!
Page rendered at Friday, August 12, 2022 7:52:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent
my employer's view in anyway.