How to avoid many meetings as Managers

Are you always in meetings and want to avoid it? Need some time do something extra in the day? In this blog I will be providing few ideas on how to avoid many meetings.

Srihari Udugani
5 min readOct 13, 2023
Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

There is nothing new in hearing that managers end up attending many meetings. I had even got a funny award “Manager Always in Meetings” ☺.

The concerns about attending many meetings are as follows.
1. It starts feeling that the meetings are unproductive.
2. It starts feeling all are long meetings, even though they are short.
3. It starts feeling that the meeting was unnecessary.

In general, a meeting should be scheduled,
- only when it is necessary,
- only when there is a proper agenda
- only when there is key decision to be made.

Based on this, I found a way to control the number of meetings that I need to attend.

By reorganising my calendar helped me to avoid a meeting marathon in few weeks of a month.

I have listed below items that I considered while reorganising the calendar.

#1 Cancel meetings that are no longer needed
There were meetings that I had created for older projects. This was no longer needed as the projects were stable and most of the work was completed.

On canceling old meetings which are no longer making sense, helped to free up the calendar a bit.

On ad-hoc basis, I was taking any new updates about the projects.

#2 Limiting the number of meetings in a day
This idea sounded little weird. But it ended up helping me in controlling the number of meetings in a day. I have limits to number of 1on1s in a day, weekly meetings and daily meetings.

Whenever I have to schedule any meeting, I first check whether it is crossing the limit, if yes, then schedule that meeting on next day or so.

Only when it is unavoidable situation to have a meeting on a particular day, the limits are ignored for scheduling the meeting.

#3 Adoption of collaborative tools more
Even though there were chat based tools adopted, it was not used to the extent that it should be used.

Creating a group chat for having quick discussions helped to save few meetings.

Now-a-days, these chat apps have note taking capabilities, creating daily reminders to provide updates, pin messages that are important etc. These kind of features removes the need for meetings.

As a manager moving some of the meetings to group chats will help to avoid few meetings.

#4 Effective usage of emails
Emails are used from a long time. But in modern world, the need for email has changed. With advancement in chat and meeting apps, emails usage can be repurposed.

Using emails for internal announcements, appreciating a team member, sharing important information that benefits the team, notification or alerting about tasks, will help to save meetings.

Have a meeting when there is a super important announcements to be made. For other common announcements using emails will help to avoid meetings.

#5 Delegate meetings to team members
This sounds weird. But it actually helps. Many managers believe that they must attend every meeting. This mindset should change.

By delegating few meetings to your team members will save your time and also help your team members to take ownership of about project updates and progress.

This does not mean you should not attend any meeting at all. This simply means that you can avoid meetings where there are no key decisions or risks or issues being discussed.

Since the regular updates, clarifications, feedback to projects can be managed by team members, your involvement will be low, so not attending in those scenarios will not impact in anyway.

#6 Strict adoption of project management tools
All organisation invest money to buy project management tools. But its usage is always limited and used only when something goes wrong.

An effective usage of project management tools, helps you to decide when to schedule a meeting for better understanding of delays or challenges or issues.

The ineffective adoption of project management tools is more of people mindset rather than technology or anything else.

Constant reminder of using project management tools to team members will help to save time for you and team members as update / sync up meetings can be avoided.

#7 Setting agenda and context before the meeting
This seems to be obvious. But many times Managers forget to send an agenda in the body of calendar invite.

Setting up the right agenda and context before the meeting will help to conclude the meeting faster.

Utilising the mandatory participants and optional participants feature while sending the calendar event will also help.

This is an hygiene that managers must take care. Without this, the meetings will get dragged, many follow up meetings would be needed; which creates unnecessary meetings and in-turn wastage of time.

#8 No meeting day
Don’t panic. It is fine if there are no meetings in a day.

If you can implement this at least once in a month, then you will see how much time is available and what all you can achieve in it.

Let me know in the comments section on your experience, if you successfully implemented a no meeting day.

In conclusion, the above list will help to reduce the number of meetings that you will end up attending. When there is control on the number of meetings, the non meeting hours can be used for doing something extra.

There is no guarantee that some days it will not be hectic. A manager’s work is dynamic, it is hard to predict and control.

But the above steps should get you to that state where the meetings will be controlled and you can do what you like to do.

Happy management!

Further reading

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Srihari Udugani

Helping new managers to become successful to grow in their careers. Happy Management.