Learn how to establish one to one meeting in order to avoid constant interruptions at work. Author, Dave Crenshaw, gives tips for establishing a pattern with direct reports so they have an outlet for their questions.
- Interruptions are a massive productivity killer in the workplace. These switches in attention can chew up at least 28% of your day. That's an entire work week every single month. I've found the most common source of these switches in attention come from quick questions. I call them the dreaded double Q. You're working on your email and someone calls and says, "I'm sorry, I've got just a quick question." Or they knock on your door and they say, "Just a quick question." These little, quick questions are important, yet, most of us are handling them in an inefficient way.
How can we handle all these quick questions, yet still be polite and responsive as a manager? What the hammer is to a carpenter, the one-to-one meeting is to a manager. It's a pattern that we establish where we meet with people on a regular basis to handle every quick question. Think of one person that you manage, someone that you have the most questions for and they have the most questions for you. Now, how often should we meet with that person? It depends, but just start with the general idea of one meeting per week at 25 minutes per meeting.
That five minutes that we're leaving out of a full half hour gives you time to transition to the next meeting. Now think about your interactions with that person who you chose. One meeting per week at 25 minutes per meeting. Would that work? If it doesn't, do we need to meet a little less often but have slightly longer meetings? Maybe once per week for 50 minutes per meeting. Or do we need to meet more often with slightly shorter meetings? Perhaps two times per week at 10 minutes per meeting.
Sit down with that person you manage and have a conversation with them to establish a pattern of when these meetings should occur. Set it up in both of your calendars to become a recurring schedule. It's critical that you stick to this schedule. If you stick to it, they'll know that they can count on having your full attention at those times, and they'll queue up those quick questions until then. However, if you miss those meetings or treat them as less important, then your team member will likely go back to interrupting you again.
Now, what happens during these one-to-one meetings? At the most basic form, it's letting them ask you all of their quick questions, and then you ask them all of your quick questions. That's it. This one meeting will go a long way toward reducing the number of switches in attention that are taking place in your work day. If you want a lot more detail in what to do in these one-to-one meetings, you might want to check out my course on leading productive one-to-one meetings here in the library.
Once you do set up the schedule with that one person, complete the process again. Establish another meeting schedule for the next person that you manage and so on. Remember, as a manager, your job is to get results through other people. One-to-one meetings are how you'll help others get those results.
In this course, best-selling author Dave Crenshaw offers managers at all levels practical strategies for efficient time management. Dave covers time management best practices for managing people, including delegating tasks, managing expectations, and establishing productive one-on-one meetings. He also provides helpful tips for managing projects, including how to coordinate multiple projects, allocate scarce resources, hold a team accountable to deadlines, and communicate deadline changes when necessary. Additionally, Dave covers how to manage priorities, including using your calendar as a prioritization tool, keeping your meetings action-focused, and shifting priorities when the need arises.
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- Identify how to delegate tasks effectively.
- Develop a training mindset.
- Discover how to manage expectations.
- Plan multiple long-term projects.
- Discover how to communicate changes to avoid delays.
- Determine how to prioritize time between meetings and work.
- Demonstrate how to manage your calendar efficiently.
- Identify the correct balance between work and fun.
- Determine how to hold others accountable to deadlines.
- Organize meetings and keep them action-focused.