The Fifty Percent Rule

If you’ve ever caught yourself saying that you have too many meetings then it’s time to introduce the fifty percent rule.  Let me explain.

I’m a firm believer that nobody should have more than fifty percent of their week booked with back to back meetings.  If you were to take a standard forty hour work week, assuming you actually work only forty hours, and calculate the amount of hours you spend in meetings, it shouldn’t exceed twenty hours.  If so, then you have too many meetings.

If you are spending more than twenty hours a week in meetings then here is what that looks like:

  • Half of your day is dedicated to sitting in a room with your peers or someone from another organization discussing a business plan or a project. How much fun does that sound?
  • This leaves you with less than four hours a day to answer email, follow up on a project status, return calls, or close the loop on a particular project you may be working on.  Your work week is now down to twenty hours but you are still expected to produce a minimum of forty hours worth of material.
  • You constantly push off other projects that need to be done because you are always trying to stay up on new projects that keep getting pushed onto your plate.
  • You will eventually be forced to say No to opportunities that may make sense for both you and your company because you’re too far behind on all the meetings and deadlines that need to be accomplished.
  • You run from one conference room to the next with no end in sight!

I realize that there are weeks where you may end up spending fifty percent of your work week in a meeting.  This is naturally going to happen pending your position and title.  I simply think it is a fail tactic though if you continually spend more than fifty percent of your time closed up in a conference room.

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