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A Better Workplace Personal development

Don’t let a colleague steal your time!

Why do we say yes to so many meetings when not all of them are useful? How many of you have been at a meeting and then returned to your desk wishing you had those hours back? Do you have any idea how many hours of mindless time-wasting take place in the meeting room? You’re not alone!

According to Wolf Management Consultants, unproductive meetings cost professionals 31 hours per month or nearly four workdays per month. According to research, half of the 11 million meetings that occur in the United States every day are a waste of time.

“Every day we allow our co-workers, who are otherwise very, very nice people, to steal from us, and I’m talking about something far more valuable than office furniture,” said David Grady. “I’m talking about time. Your time.”

In his talk, How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings, David invites you to consider a simple situation: imagine it’s Monday morning. You’ve just arrived at work. This guy, who you’ve seen around, goes straight into your desk and steals your chair.

He doesn’t say anything. Simply grab your chair and move with it. He doesn’t even acknowledge the possibility that you could need the chair. That you might need it to finish some tasks. It’s a situation you probably wouldn’t stand. What you would do, is follow that guy back to his cubicle and claim the chair back. You wouldn’t even consider otherwise.

Now, on Tuesday morning, a meeting invitation pops up in your calendar. It’s from this woman that you kind of know from down the hall and this meeting subject is something you’ve heard a little about. There’s no agenda, no clear explanation of why you should be included. Yet, you accept the invitation, and you go.

When the very unproductive meeting ends, you return to your desk and wish you could get the 2 hours back.


You should be concerned with how productive you and your team are. And the key to doing so is to define your priorities and then stick to them every day so that you can conclude your week feeling you couldn’t have done much more to help the team reach its goals.

Grady says this is part of a “global epidemic” known as MASMindless Accept Syndrome, which he defines as “an involuntary reflex in which a person accepts a meeting invitation without even thinking why. A common illness among office workers worldwide.”

MAS (noun): Mindless Accept Syndrome. An involuntary reflex in which a person accepts a meeting invitation without even thinking why. A common illness among office workers worldwide.

David Grady

How can we stop automatically saying yes to unproductive meetings?

Here is two responses Grady highlighted:

  1. Push the maybe button on meeting invitations that don’t have a lot of information in them at all.
  2. Get in touch with the person who asked you to come to the meeting. Ask them what the goal of the meeting is and how you can help them achieve the goal.

And if we do this frequently and respectfully enough, people might start to be a little more attentive about how they put together meeting invitations.

People just might start to change their behavior because you changed yours.

So, make sure that the number of things you have to accomplish throughout the day matches the amount of time you have to do them, not the timeframe you’re awake during the day. and say NO to the unrelated and unproductive meetings!


Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

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