Improve your meeting using the Getting Things Done principles

We’re attending more meetings than ever before. That’s why it’s crucial to make the time you’re using fruitful and valuable. Learn how to make your meetings more productive by following these 3 tips based on the Getting Things Done® methodology.

Who doesn’t want to be more productive? Whether you’re struggling with inefficient meetings or simply want to get more done in less time, the Getting Things Done framework might be the answer to your prayers. We asked Lars Rothschild Henriksen, CEO of GTDnordic Denmark to share his best tips and insights. Let’s dive right in!

1. Stay on top of your inbox

Wait, what? Since when do e-mails have anything to do with meetings? Well, one of the things that happen when you put the Getting Things Done-principles into practice is, that inbox zero becomes your new standard. This makes it so much easier to stay on top of your tasks and projects and means, that many more things are resolved digitally - which spares you for numerous unnecessary meetings.

The effect applies to all levels in an organization practising inbox zero. Especially assistants and employees reporting directly to the management level experience a significant drop in e-mail volume and complexity: Many issues become easier to clarify, requiring fewer meetings to make progress. An empty inbox is merely the most effective way to making all your tasks running smoothly.

2. Five steps to maintain your focus

We’re all struggling to maintain focus throughout the day. In fact, even the goldfish has surpassed us in the ability to stay focused! Less attention means less productive meetings - so what can we do to catch up and beat the goldfish?

Getting Things Done provides you with 5 actionable steps:

• Capture: Collect what has your attention
• Clarify: Process what it means
• Organize: Put it where it belongs
• Reflect: Review frequently
• Engage: Simply do

When applied to meetings, namely Capture is essential and helps you maintain your focus and remember the most important parts from the meeting. Pen and paper work just fine for this, but be sure only to capture and wait to process your notes to an appropriate time (that belongs to the Clarify and Organise steps).

By separating the capture part from processing makes a huge difference. We tend to start processing information as soon as we’re presented for it, but that steals your attention and makes you unaware of what’s going on at the meeting. Unless the purpose of the meeting is the process itself (e.g., brainstorming), you should stick to capturing notes to stay focused. When the meeting’s done, throw the notes in your inbox and process them 24-48 hours after the meeting.

3. Be clear about every perspective of the meeting

Once you’re comfortable with the 5 steps, the last step in Getting Things Done framework is Perspective. Think of your work as a horizon where you’re free to choose different lenses. This makes it easier to see your tasks and projects from different angles - from the overall purpose to the very next action.

When planning your next meeting, it’s worth considering the following questions:

• What’s the purpose of the meeting?
• What’s the desired outcome of this meeting?
• [conduct meeting]
• What are the next actions of the meeting?
• Who’s taking the lead on each of those actions?

The last two questions should be easy, but too many meetings end up with participants who may have been assigned a task that may be clear and may be urgent. Be sure to clarify these questions before you leave the meeting - what is the next action and who’s responsible?

To become even more productive - in meetings and in general - be sure to check out gettingthingsdone.com and GTDnordic.dk

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