If you know me much at all, you know I like coffee shops (a lot). Some time ago, I learned the working lunch has its uses. One good use, is simply relationship building. But as a tool for getting something done, the Working Lunch really isn’t that productive, and it’s expensive (even if we’re only talking my waist line). The goal? Get someone out of the office for an undistracted discussion, or, meeting someone whose schedule is jammed.
Using a coffee shop for a meeting is much more cost effective ($4 vs $40?), can be scheduled any time (6:45a, 1:30p, 6:45p), and have last as long or as little as both parties desire. Love ’em.
When you are the one sending a meeting request, don’t schedule meetings back-to-back. If the other person’s calendar is full, and their meetings are likely to have run over, give some space between them. Start at :15 or :40 after the hour (or whatever). Odds are good that, if you don’t, they’re going to have to take a short break anyway—so why not let them and remove any artificially induced strain?
:30 is Greater Than :60
Most meetings don’t need the stereotypical ‘hour.’ In a fast-paced environment, I learned 30 minute meetings are not only much more productive (work accomplished : time to do it), they’re also very much appreciated by your busier, in high-demand participants.
What’s to say that hasn’t been said? It’s great, when done right. My biggest flaw, is feeling a need to justify myself (long email), rather than just stating what needs stating. If there’s a question, I’m sure someone will ask for more info.
So many ways sending SMS text from a mobile device can be great! One of my favorites, quick exchanges where you just want to pass along some info (e.g. we’ve just landed, call u from hotel), but don’t want a 10 minute phone call with the first 5 minutes being pleasantries.
A second example is letting your host know you’re there. Sending a text message can often shorten or eliminate the wait. Your host, Ms. Busy Person, often isn’t at their desk. So a regular phone call or email (from said device) won’t get to them. More than once I’ve sat in the lobby of Big Corp USA waiting on my host and gotten the basic welcome, “…glad you texted me, I was in a meeting and couldn’t have taken your call…”
Merge, Email or Word
You want to stay in touch with each of your friends, colleagues, and contacts on a frequent basis. But you don’t want to lump them into a common bucket and ‘blast’ them (how personal is that?). Merge tools let you creatively compose custom letters for each of your favorite people. Sure, some will look at it and say, ‘He’s broadcasting again’. Others will appreciate it for what it is…you wanted to say Hi (and at least you took the time to personalize it for me).
Project Hosting Sites
Rather than send files as email attachments, wondering who has what version, and worse—having to manage the collection of returned edits, set up a project hosting site (Google Groups are free), post one copy of the file on the website, and let everyone know it’s there for the having. More broadly accessible (you’re not being pinged X times for the file), and it’s transparent (transparency is its own affair). I’ve even set one up for my church.
Especially in the corporate world, if you’ve got a common collaborative system (e.g. Exchange, GroupWise, etc.), people feel your unscheduled time is theirs to consume. Nyet! Need to get a project done? Put a time block on your calendar. Need 20 hours in the next 2 weeks to wrap up that project? 2 hr time blocks, daily, M-F, for two weeks gives it to you. Yes, I know, “but…” Even if 5 of it gets consumed in ways beyond your control, at least you set aside 15 hrs you know someone else would have been happy to use for you.
There’re uncounted time savers beyond these, but thought you may appreciate some of them.