You know the joke, “how do you know someone does CrossFit/is a Vegan? Don’t worry; they’ll tell you!”  

It’s the same with busy people.  

Yes, I’m calling you out. Too many people I coach and teach subtly “brag” to me about how busy they are or how much they have going on.  

They tell me the number of hours they spend weekly at work in pursuit of their goals and proudly proclaim how many meetings they attend each week.  

It’s crazy, though; they also quickly tell me how many of those meetings were a complete and utter waste of their time.

They look puzzled when I ask what they are doing to fix things – specifically, attending those nonsensical meetings.  

But then, something I find incredibly odd happens: they defend the meetings they’d just labeled as a waste of time.

I struggle with unproductive time. Some (my wife among them) would argue that I don’t know how to turn off my brain and relax.

I don’t understand people who can sit all day in front of a television or endlessly scroll through social media. But there is no way in hell I will waste my precious time in unnecessary meetings. 

I’ve written numerous times on the importance of effective time management and my view that it’s a key indicator of future success.  

Allow me to change tact for a moment and attack the problem from another angle: you are a pretty crap executive if you allow your team members and employees to waste their lives in unproductive ways.

Why spend time and money marketing, recruiting, interviewing, negotiating, onboarding, and more – only to then allow this new employee to be bored while attending unnecessary meetings?  

Think for a moment about their hourly cost while in those meetings. The average American salary at the end of 2022 was around $54,000 per year, equating to about $27 per hour (based on 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year).  

Let’s argue for a moment that you only have a mild problem developing: only 1 employee in 1 unnecessary hour-long meeting each work day.  

That $27 multiplied 5 times is $135 per week. Carrying on the math, that $135 over the 50 weeks per year they work is “only” $6,750.

Per each AVERAGE EMPLOYEE earning an AVERAGE SALARY while (hopefully) only attending one unnecessary meeting per day.

I have executives I’ve coached confess that they have meetings with their teams which cost over $7,000 per hour. And that often, those meetings are nothing more than something that should’ve been done via email, MS Teams, Slack, etc. Again: $7k for each hour of each meeting.  

One more scenario to hammer my point home: Let’s explore a scenario where this executive has 1 of these $7k/per hour meetings per week unproductively spent (over 50 weeks). Did you do the math? That’s $350,000 that could’ve been donated to charity or used in other areas of the business.

So, from now on, when you hear your people broadcasting how much time they waste being “busy,” stamp it out.  

It’s commonly acknowledged that 70% of business efforts fail within a decade of operating. Do you think a small reason for this is that they were too busy being busy to notice?