Out of Office Hours

Updated on Sunday, May 2, 2021


Inc has an article based on this blog suggesting that the solution to 'zoom fatigue' is reverse meetings.

I imagined that this was going to be a S03E01 of Red Dwarf type scenario where you get handed some notes and a few action items and then apologize for leaving early. But no, it's office hours.

""In a reverse meeting scenario, by contrast, I might take only 10 minutes from each colleague, taking up 50 minutes total of my time, and 50 minutes total of their time, for an overall demand of 100 minutes of attention, which is 3.6 times less cost," Newport writes. And voilà, he's just given your team back more than four hours of productive time a week."

Assuming that people manage to show up in perfect slots with no conflict and do so in a way that has perfect utilization for the victim and that there is no value in having someone point out that one of those 10 minute slots was full of incorrect information sending you down a two week rabbit hole that could have easily been avoided by having the right people spend some time together.

In a perfect world my ideal meeting situation is the meeting defragmenter. This involves software and cooperation unfortunately so the next best solution is out of office hours. I need focused time to get stuff done and blocking large chunks of meeting repelling time is really the only thing that works.

Clockwise - Meeting Defragmenter

Back in 2016 I shared an idea for a tool that would automatically arrange meetings to maximize stretches of production time. As a marketing genius I called it Meeting Defragmenter.

I just read about Clockwise, a startup that is doing exactly this. Right now it supports GSuite and it looks like Office365 is coming soon. Can't wait to try it!

Meeting Defragmenter

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Meeting Defragmenter

Screw Holacracy, I have an idea that will revolutionize business and drive the next wave of global productivity gains. It’s a simple question of fixing meetings.

My dream week is one where I have two miserable days with back to back meetings and forget lunch, there isn’t even enough time to grab a coffee. Sound miserable? The upside is three uninterrupted days where I can cruise through a ridiculous amount of work.

My real week - meetings dotted throughout each day with half hour breaks in between. And many of these meetings will involve eighteen people shoehorned into a closet because someone booked the big room for a 1:1.

We need a meeting defragmenter.

Let go of picking a time and a room. Just say who you need to meet with and for how long. The meeting defragmenter will pick the best room and group all meetings as close together as possible with a five minute break in between.

Your company can decide if you prefer to load mornings or afternoons, or maybe Mondays and Thursdays. You can set core hours for each team.

Information workers take around twenty minutes to enter a state of flow which is where you need to be to write great code, conduct awe-inspiring analysis or generally do anything of value to your company. A half hour gap in between meetings is just enough time to get back to your desk, dismiss unwelcome interruptions, start to get into a state of mind to tackle some real work and then realize it’s time for another meeting.

Giving more people more blocks of useful time would be an incalculable benefit to their mental health, their businesses and the global economy. This one simple tool could change the world.

As usual if any of my billionaire investor readers are interested, call me.