How I got my time back

If Google Calendar could speak, I think it would tell me to take it easy. I have, on average, 11 meetings (or conference calls) per week. Until about six months ago, I had even more. I jumped from one meeting to another all day long, doing all my other work very early in the morning or very late in the night. I didn’t get much proper work done.

Then, one day, I had a revelation which completely changed the way I approach meetings: many, many people didn’t really know why they wanted to meet me. It was because they saw me at Seedcamp, in the FT, at TechCrunch or at an event and just thought it would be nice to grab a coffee. Nice, yes. Useful, rarely. Naively enough, I thought *maybe* they’ll have some value to me or Brainient, so let’s meet and find out.

I quickly learned that most people have no idea why they want to meet you and have way too much time on their hands. So I created a little system which filters out pretty much all meetings that will not be relevant or useful to me. I know, it sounds very egoistic, but I find it’s the only way I can get stuff done properly. So now, whenever someone wants to meet me, I have a very simple story:

“I’m busy in the next couple of weeks, so please drop me an email to schedule a meeting sometime after that. While you’re at it, it’d be great if you could tell me what’s the outcome you expect from the meeting. Oh, and if it’s really urgent, let’s jump on a call or Skype conference and discuss”. These 3 sentences filter out 99% of the people that aren’t serious about meeting you, they just want to fill-in their time.

There are exceptions from this rule of course, obviously. And since I started doing it, I have much more time for everything I really need to do. Plus more – like writing this blog post, for example :).

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