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Today’s contribution is about the importance to schedule meetings with yourself and how to boost your productivity and well-being.

by guest blogger Chris Sequeira

The modern workday is a busy and highly social workday. We find our calendars packed with group meetings, sometimes from the moment we show up at work until the moment we leave. Sometimes, those meetings exist on our calendars because we scheduled them with other people.

Group meetings serve many purposes, of course. Even though today’s working professionals have a wide range of electronic communication tools at their fingertips, there’s nothing quite like face time with colleagues and clients. In-person meetings aid decision-making, assist learning, and sometimes even enable the simple act of getting things done. We might feel at times that the many meetings we sit in have little purpose: unnecessary presentations, lots of talk with few decisions made, or rehashes of topics discussed long ago. Despite that feeling, we might still find ourselves planning our time around group meetings — and of course, this means that our colleagues are planning their time around group meetings too. We give our time so regularly to others that it’s easy to neglect time for ourselves.

In “How To Get It All Done,” Beate points out that according to the Women’s Code principles everything you do is in essence a choice, even on those days when you may feel like everything you do is a must. Yes — even in a busy work environment, you can choose to give time to yourself. One great structured way to do this is to schedule a meeting on your calendar with just one participant: you!

Meetings with yourself can boost your productivity and your well-being

The purposes of meeting with yourself are just as varied and broad as the purposes of meeting with other people: decision-making, learning, and getting things done. One advantage of meeting with yourself is that you control the agenda one hundred percent — it’s up to you to pick a purpose and stick with it. Of course you don’t have to reserve a conference room and sit there all alone, but on the other hand, grabbing a room just for yourself could give you some peace and quiet and some scenery different from your desk! The most important intention of scheduling a meeting with yourself is to express that your time is valuable enough to reserve for purposes that are yours alone. You could find yourself being remarkably productive and relaxed during your “meeting for one,” regardless of where you host it.

For starters, try scheduling a meeting with yourself for email

You can meet with yourself for all kinds of reasons, but it’s true that some company cultures may be less than supportive of self-meetings. For starters, try reserving a small block of time on your calendar for email — after all, many of us get dozens (or hundreds!) of emails daily, regardless of what kind of company we work for. If you’re using an electronic calendar system like the one in Microsoft Outlook, you’ll be treated as “busy” for this block of time when a colleague is trying to schedule a group meeting. This tells your colleagues, “I can meet with you, but try another time.” During your email meeting, focus one hundred percent on email. See how it feels to reserve time for your own productivity! If a meeting with yourself for email works well, consider expanding your self-meetings to other topics.

Another great way to preserve your time is to schedule repeating meetings with yourself. For instance, you might decide that every day at 9 in the morning is your email time. Put a repeating meeting on your calendar — now you’ve told yourself that every day at 9 in the morning belongs to you.

You are important enough to keep some of your time!

We’re faced with many competing demands every workday, and we have to prioritize. Many of our demands have to be resolved through meetings with other people. But remember: you are important enough to keep some of your time, and one way to remind yourself that you are important is to schedule meetings with yourself. With a reserved block of time and an agenda you control totally, you might be surprised at the productivity gains you can realize.

Tell us about your tips on how you prioritize? We’d love to hear from you.

Chris Sequeira writes about self, society, and sustainability at his blog Master This Machine.

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