Build a culture of productivity: Save time by staying present
Study after study highlights the positive impact that comes from mindful engagement and yet as busy, well-intentioned people, we find ourselves multitasking anyway. Remote meetings provide the biggest temptation to multitask, and the greatest opportunity to ensure success through engagement. Here are some tips to keep you present.
- Configure your phone to manage interruptions. Rarely are we invited to a meeting just to audit the conversation. Disconnect from technology so you can participate. Silence your phone but enable the setting that allows a second immediate call from the same number to break through. Let your VIPs know that if there is a true emergency, they should simply call twice.
- Block time for managing tasks like email that otherwise distract you all day. Boost your productivity and protect your sanity by dedicating short blocks of time during the day to manage email. Utilize features such as color-coding your inbox to highlight important messages by topic or sender for easy prioritization. Knowing you have time set aside to handle these tasks frees you up to be present and listen actively during meetings.
- Practice active listening to gain understanding. Experts say that the best listeners not only provide the visual cues of eye contact and body language, but they respond with questions that deepen the discussion. This Harvard Business Review article suggests that good listeners elevate a conversation, adding “energy [and] acceleration.” Our goal as leaders and team members should be to let presenters know that we value and respect their efforts enough to offer our full attention.
- Structure meetings to allow busiest team members to come and go as needed. Invite only participants whose input is needed for the discussion and capture good notes for extended teams to read. Publish and follow structured agendas, so that your busiest colleagues can attend the top or bottom half of a meeting and then be excused. This will allow them to be fully present during the time they do attend.
Following these tips reduces your temptation to multitask and allows you to connect with your teams, building a culture that values discipline and engagement.