Mondays are always a little hectic. There’s a lot to do when we get back into the office after a nice two-day break. Mondays fly by because they’re usually busy! But who knew a regular TUESDAY could be so demanding?? I already had three meetings scheduled as I walked into work this past Tuesday. I wound up keeping quiet and owning it in the end, and you can too.
Rock the meetings
Here’s how it all went down: I had one meeting with my boss at 10:30 a.m. to review my goals and accomplishments. That was easy peasy lemon squeezy. On top of that, I had two meetings with clients, one at 2 p.m., another at 3 p.m.. No biggie. There was plenty of space in between each one.
As the day went on…coworkers received requests for more meetings. One was at 10 a.m…thirty minutes before my review with my boss. Okay, I could squeeze that in.
Another client requested a meeting at 1:15 p.m., 15 minutes after we got back from lunch. Okay. Five meetings, we can do this.
Finally, a client requested a meeting at 4 p.m. THE SIXTH MEETING!!! The sixth meeting in the sixth hour. Does that make me the sixth [wo]man?
I have to admit, I was a little worried at first. I like meetings to be organized, I like to be prepared for them, and I like for the client to get as much as information as they need. This was a little overwhelming. But I wound up rocking it in the end. How?
Keep a Calendar
I keep three calendars at my desk. You might think this is overboard, but hear me out. One calendar is a monthly dry erase board. I keep track of my daily projects on there since I have due dates almost every single day for clients. I also keep track of my meetings on there. The calendar is color-coded (okay, this part is overboard): high-priority items are in red, not-so-high-priority items are in green, and meetings or reports are in blue.
The second calendar is a fun, monthly calendar I created on Shutterfly, using my own photos. Like I said, this one is for fun! I keep that in an out-of-sight area in my work space (behind my chair) for when I need to take a break, look at a nice photo, and breathe.
The third calendar is a daily desk calendar. It helps me keep track of today’s date, to stay focused. It also has Italian phrases on it, so I use it for educational purposes too! Another “fun” calendar, I suppose.
Keeping calendars (or a calendar) helps us stay focused with our tasks. It’s easy for requests to pile up. But we’ll never miss a deadline if we have it written down in front of us!
You’ve filled in your calendar, taking a look at everything in advance. Now it’s time to decide what meetings and tasks are most important TODAY.
You might prioritize this by meeting time, by the amount of preparation the meeting takes, or maybe even who you’re meeting with. Use whichever method works best for you. The purpose of this is so that we don’t feel overwhelmed with a bunch of meetings ON TOP of our already busy workday.
It helps to have a visual of these tasks, and it allows us to estimate how much time we will need to spend on each task.
This one is very important. Stick to a meeting agenda so you’re confident in the information you provide. Sometimes we might get random questions in a meeting. That happens. Creating a meeting agenda helps you focus on the most important points, and it helps keep your client on task too!
Communicate with your coworkers, your clients, and your boss! Go for a walk with a coworker and express your thoughts on these meetings. It’s a relief to talk to someone else who understands what you’re going through, who might be able to lend some encouraging words.
Talk to your clients to clarify anything that’s unclear about the meeting or the meeting’s purpose. After the meeting, follow up with client or the person you met with and send a quick, professional email with some notes from the meeting. I send follow-up emails with a thank you, and some helpful how-to links.
I mention communicate with your boss because maybe there’s some advise he or she has for you. Or maybe he/she can even help reschedule a meeting to balance out the workload.
Use your resources as much as you can! You’ve got this.