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Too Many Meetings!! – Managing My Executives Calendar – Ask an Admin

Ask an Admin was created by Office Dynamics to help administrative professionals with their problems through the help of their peers. We don’t always have an answer to each individuals problem but we know some of you might. Please read the question and comment below.

April M. asks:

My executive’s calendar is jam-packed on a daily basis & she’s asking me to come up with a better solution to managing her calendar. She needs time to do work, answer emails, etc, but the requests for meetings are constant and a lot of them are at her request. They are needed. They are necessary to schedule. But how do you balance ‘free’ time with meeting times? I block out time on her calendar, but inevitably a meeting gets put in its place. We’ve tried to do only 5 meetings per day, but more often than not it winds up being 7 or 8 or more! I made the suggestion that decisions/discussions happen over email vs. in person in a meeting – but that’s not possible either most of the time. Does anyone have a good meeting/scheduling hack they use? Any good tips for me?

Thank you!

Office Dynamics actually has some info on this subject (see below) but we’d love to hear what tips or advice you have. Please leave a comment below.

We have an eBook called, Mastering Your Executive’s Calendar, a blog Calendar Management for Executive Assistants, videos, Calendar Management for Executive Assistants—the Holistic Approach, Administrative Assistant – Complex Calendar Control, Executives & Assistants Working In Partnership: The Definitive Guide to Success and Managing Your Executive’s Day.

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2 thoughts on “Too Many Meetings!! – Managing My Executives Calendar – Ask an Admin”

  1. Elizabeth Aylin Blatchford

    If the nature of most of the meetings is ad-hoc with subordinates, your boss may not have enough one-to-one meetings with her folks.

    Try setting up a system of one long monthly team meeting, 3 shorter weekly informal team calls to keep team members current and a series of monthly/biweekly individual update meetings where individual direct reports can direct the discussion – business, career or personal. This system keeps the supervisor formed regularly, the team members in synch and maintains the individual-manager relationship current.

    We relegate ad-hoc meetings to late in the day to discourage such requests, but allow for some flexibility to remain agile. I block 2 hours daily for my boss to do email, plan, etc and I protect her lunch and morning run, which is challenging with teams in the US, Europe & Asia. And, of course, she and I have a daily 30 minute update to make sure we remain in synch as well.

  2. Try booking meetings on the quarter hour instead of the half hour. It can give you 15 minutes on each side. Also, try booking 15 minute meetings instead of 30 minute meetings. Make them more efficient if there is less time (it works!).

    And does she really need to be at all the meetings? Can she delegate and then have just one meeting to review the results of many meetings? Is her management style an issue?

    Often the only solution is to be ruthless with the requests. Are they really needed, where does the topic sit within the four quadrants? Urgent or not urgent, important or not important. Will the meeting help with hitting targets or strategic goals, or is it just churn?

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