playing the new year resolution game: work edition

I’m usually not someone that is big into New Year’s resolutions.  You can ask my better half about it and she’d probably say it’s the equivalent of pulling teeth.  Every year on January 1st she tries to get me to jot down some things that are on my list for the year and every year I hem, haw and eventually offer up something rather small that has to do with my personal life.  It wasn’t much different this year, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I did have some resolutions.  The difference this time around was that many of them were work related.
One thing in particular that has been on my mind is how I should manage my work load and how I can help with the work load of my team.  (As a side note, last fall I moved from a category marketing role into a new gig on the digital marketing team where I lead a team that focuses on social media marketing.)
I’ve always tried to manage the balance between attending meetings and carving out time to get my work done.  But when you work in a big company that’s easier said than done.  In my opinion large companies in particular have a tendency to be meeting intensive and I’m throwing Best Buy into that mix.  In my previous role my calendar was often filled with several meetings every day. That squeeze on my schedule has even escalated with my new position.(If you don’t mind, I do have a quick rant about my calendar and people automatically scheduling meetings.  Why does it seem to be a prevalent belief that when someone sees open time on your Outlook calendar that it means your aren’t doing anything and are therefore available for a meeting?  Even if my schedule appears “free,” I guarantee you that I have some work which needs my attention.)

With meeting proliferation in full effect, I’m making a ridiculously simple and relatively minor resolution but one that I think is important.  Here it is in all its glory: this is the year that I’m taking back my calendar!

Ground breaking, isn’t it?  But in all seriousness, I think this could make a big difference.  It would allow me to stay focused on the work that needs to be done – the things that are priorities – and not get pulled into work that is unnecessary or distracting.

Now by doing this am I going to affect a sea change in the organization?  Likely not.  But I can make a difference for my team.  I can encourage them to take charge and own their own time.  Plus I can push others in the company to reevaluate the automatic notion that you always need to schedule a meeting to accomplish something.  Meetings are such a default form of communication and mode of trying to get work done that it overshadows the lack of efficiency.  Let’s challenge that and see if we can find other ways to communicate with one another.  I can only imagine if I was able to connect with people one-on-one in shorter spurts.

What if my rule was to never accept a meeting if the same thing could be accomplished over a five minute phone conversation?  Hmm…I could be on to something with that one.  I think I’ll set up a meeting with some co-workers to ideate on it*.

*Please note the sarcasm.
(Photo courtesy of Creative Commons license: Amanda Schutz.)

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