The topic of asynchronous communication has gained great momentum through the pandemic. The office settings did not help us acknowledge the amount of time we spent in meetings , but through remote working it has become surfaced as a dominant pain that we are in meetings all the time! Terms like focus time , personal hour etc. have gained traction and everybody is trying to find space between blurry lines of work and home. It seems to be a never ending battle.
Personally for me I have not been able to realize the significance of focus time , as for decades we operated with out , going around doing our job. I think that we have a set of things to do , run and drive outcomes and most of the job profiles will not allow for the concepts of focus time to be successful although analytics and software implements will make a recommendation for same. It also confuses other people who want to work , discuss and brainstorm , whether I should reach out or not!
For me following strategy works best
- Being an early riser , I tend to read and clear my Inbox before starting my regular days
- Use the concept of urgent and important to determine how to create short term focus [ needs to answered within a day ] versus [ week ] or [ month ] . Beyond that it does not require attention now
- I try to gamify time management and use asynchronous methods of guiding through my workloads by keeping lean focus area list , leverage negotiation and delegation to increase greater span of work and rest goes to backlog
- Write first culture is important to drive thought process and discussion. Without writing we can never move forward and will always rely on verbal communication which is meeting
- Using tools effectively to drive To-Do lists and putting specific blocks on calendar to carry out desired tasks.
- Maintain to-do list at personal level , group level and 1-1 level to drive agenda at different velocity and focus
- Create focused chat groups for short term goals and encourage no-meetings but asynchronous communication
- I re-purpose meeting to cover additional agenda and avoid another meeting
- Strengthen decision making . It seems that we try to be risk averse and find more people to help take decision because we are either not breaking the problem to manageable levels or are too weary to take a call and move forward.
Above are some of practical everyday ways of managing . Having said that there is no perfect answer and you would still have bad days. In order to focus continue to keep this problem at the core of efficient working so that everybody is reminded not to be pulled into a meeting without a purpose and if pulled should have exit path with some action items [ of which one should be not to have another meeting ]