The problem with back to back

Everyone is familiar with a day of “back to backs”. One meeting, after another, followed by another, then another, for hours on end.

The day turns into a blur, each meeting becoming indistinguishable from the next. One person’s white-boarding session blends into another person’s 1:1 which blends into a slide deck that you’re certain you’ve seen before.

Faced with the prospect of more meetings your mind begins to wonder:

Am I having déjà vu? Haven’t we had this meeting before? Oh well, what’s my next meeting about? Oh crap, it’s with finance. Will we finish here in time? We still have so much to get through. But I can’t reschedule finance again, they’re already annoyed at me for rescheduling last time. When am I going to eat lunch? I’m so hungry. Maybe finance will cancel? Sweet potato casserole I hope they cancel.

On and on it goes.

So what to do?

What if, instead, we intentionally built slack into our schedule? What if we made meetings 45min instead of 60min? 20min instead of 30min? How might that change our anxious internal chatter?

What if we had no meeting Mondays, or two meeting Tuesdays? Walking meeting Wednesdays or three meeting Thursdays?

What if we made meetings the exception rather than the norm? How would that change the way we show up?