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Virtual First | Effectiveness Kit

Batch and buffer meetings

Understanding which meeting types are meant to be batched — and which are meant to have buffers between — is key to controlling the rhythm of your day. Reduce anxiety and inefficiency by categorizing and rearranging your upcoming sync sessions. 



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Step 1: Categorize your meetings

Look ahead to meetings on your calendar that you own. If you can’t remove it entirely while still moving the work forward, bucket the meeting into one of two places: advise, where your primary function is to advise others (e.g., a 1-to-1 or brainstorm session) and action, where your primary function is to take action (e.g., a recurring project check-in). 

Step 2: Batch or buffer

Meetings where you’ll primarily advise are ideal for batching. It’s easier to context switch when you don’t have a to-do list to codify at the end of a meeting. You also have more certainty that the meeting will end on time given your ability to drop without missing action items. Meetings where you will generate action items are best planned with buffers. If the meeting runs long, you can breathe easier. If it ends on time, you can use that buffer to document next steps while they’re fresh on your mind. 

Step 3: Align to peak performance hours

Once you get a handle on buffering and batching, you can reach the next level of refinement by aligning your meeting blocks to your peak productivity hours. Are you sharpest in the morning? After lunch? Later in the day? Try to schedule meetings when you’re most energized. If you’re stuck with an unavoidable meeting scheduled for a suboptimal time, do your best to inject a buffer before or after to sustain your energy levels. 
From Dropbox

More tips for managing meetings

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3 easy wins

Build the habit

  • Tomorrow: Add a 15 to 30 minute buffer after a meeting that you know will result in follow-up action items.
  • Next week: Batch three meetings where your primary function is to advise. 
  • Quarterly: Think of a recurring meeting that routinely goes over time, and either extend the block or add a buffer after the session.