jump to navigation

just block out an hour* January 26, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Meeting Minutes.

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user tvol

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user tvol

Have you been invited to a meeting lately? Was it a client meeting? A departmental meeting? A project group, or a training session, or a lunch-and-learn, or an all-staff gathering?

How long did the person who booked it schedule it for?

The same as everyone who schedules a meeting: One hour. 60 minutes. 3600 seconds.

And why? Because half an hour isn’t long enough to get everything done, and 45 minutes just leaves you with enough time to get back to your desk and accomplish nothing before having to go to your next meeting (yeah, they’re back-to-back; they’re always back-to-back). Plus, it looks good on the schedule to block out an entire square of time. The simple scheduling programs offices use to book meeting rooms usually just work on an hourly basis.

Really, though, you have to block out more than an hour. No meeting is an hour. Hour-long meetings never start on time — the organizer has to give five minutes for stragglers to show up and finish socializing. Someone has to peek in at the 15-minute mark. Things have to get completely derailed talking about vacations or stuck on a tiny little point of execution (and the person who brought it up regrets ever opening his or her mouth as a result). Everyone starts checking their watches about ten minutes before the meeting’s over, and everyone who’s not a peon or the meeting organizer gets to up and leave at the one-hour mark (if they haven’t left already — and managers do tend to leave early) because they have more important things to do (so they say).

But the meeting doesn’t end. The meeting was scheduled for an hour, and if the agenda isn’t gotten through, everyone’s staying after class. And even when the meeting ends, it doesn’t end; someone’s going to grab you (it’s always you) and talk to you more about this, or about something totally unrelated, and as a result you’ll either be late to your next meeting or you’ll end up losing your lunch hour (scheduled right between the meetings; more fool you).

So just block out an hour. As the organizer will undoubtedly say, “it won’t take us that long, but just in case…”

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

* As I wrote the title of this post, I was struck by the irony of the phrase “block out” in relation to putting something on your schedule, because really, most people just want to block out not only what happens in meetings but also the fact that they exist at all.



1. “meeting vortex” « corporatespeak - April 17, 2009

[…] had the opportunity to schedule it, prepare for it, and wrap my head around the idea that I had to block out an hour of my day to deal with this group, I might have been less inclined to be anti-social, but when you get sucked […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: