Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Zen of Meetings

Meetings at work can be the bane of your life when you have 'shit to get done', they certainly interfere with my working day on an increasingly regular basis.

I've had a meeting where Nick and I implemented something that someone else disagreed with and tried to get reversed. We said that people really like it, it was easy to do, had minimal impact and lots of people want to use it. His argument back was 'In many ways that is part of its downfall'.

Unfortunately, his worst fears were realised and it stayed put and increasing numbers of users took advantage of this terrible and apocalyptic break from tradition. Even now we suffer the effects of pleased clients and users.

Anyway. Meetings. Sometimes they can be incredibly useful - especially when you have nothing pressing for them to interfere with. For example, this morning I had a meeting which could have caused me some frustration had I not finished a bunch of work (the correct plural term for work) before leaving last night. Rather helpfully this meeting came with an agenda and a set of previous minutes, all nicely numbered, which helped my productivity no end.

The Agenda is essentially a numbered crib sheet, you can skim read the agenda and see where your input is expected and, so long as you are vaguely aware of what number in the agenda you are at, you can get a lot done whilst appearing to participate in the meeting. Though this may not be that important as on many occasions agenda items can be kind of like talent contests - one person does most of the speaking in the hope of convincing everyone else in the room they have some useful abilities or skills - resolving whatever issue is on the table is of minor importance. These people are a friend to your productivity and they should be encouraged as they are unlikely to interrupt you with requests for input or your opinion.

During these parts of the meeting you can use the otherwise lost time to do other things. For instance, improve your creative side by working on your drawing skills - who knows? This could possibly lead to a future career change provided you attend enough meetings:

Fig 1: Extract from this morning's meeting.

Writing your grocery list is another excellent way of appearing to take notes and also serves the purpose of reducing the amount of time it takes you to order the food from your desk/pick it up at the supermarket during your extended lunch break.

Once you are proficient at both drawing and writing whilst appearing to pay attention, you can combine these skills to design increasingly elaborate world domination plans and draw sketches of underground lairs/minion uniforms/biomechanical supercreatures with deathrays and chocolate milk dispensers. These are just some suggestions, feel free to think of your own chocolate milk dispensing variations on the world domination theme. It can also be healthy to draw representaions of any antagonists at the meeting in various scenarios involving your inky doom-bringers - red pens can be a help here but it's a lot harder to conceal what you are doing if you brink a full set of coloured pencils and finger paints are a dead give away. It's all about moderation people.

There are myriad other possibilities, just remember - make the meetings work for you! Good luck everyone!


lunaliar said...

Next meeting that comes around (next week during lunch) I'm going to use your ideas to hatch a plan involving a boat, retirement and a small island.

Olivia said...

Oh I see! I want to import to FB from Blogger too!

MattJ said...

other way around sweetpea, go to FB - go to notes and there is an option to import an external blog! Unfortunately you are only allowed one feed but still very useful!

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