5 Minute Calendar Cleanup for Effective Meeting Management

When the Sunday scaries set in, we are often tempted to answer a few emails to cross a few things off our lists before Monday morning.

There may be a better use of your time on Sunday evenings.

This Sunday, try the 5 Minute Calendar Cleanup for meeting management.

5 Minute Calendar Cleanup 

The 5 Minute Calendar Cleanup involves opening your calendar and reviewing each of your meetings for the week on Sunday evening.

The goal of this exercise is to remove the meetings that are optional or poor uses of your time, and to keep the meetings that are mandatory, productive for you to attend, or (at least) enjoyable.

You may be able to remove a few meetings right away (e.g., optional training sessions; meetings during times when you are double booked). 

The next step is to ask yourself the following questions about each meeting remaining on your calendar:

  1. Is my attendance mandatory?
  2. Do I know my role?
  3. Will I contribute?
  4. Will it be a good use of my time?

If the answer to one or more of these questions with a “no,” there are two ways to proceed:

  1. Decline the meeting and remove it from your calendar, or
  2. Reach out to the meeting leader and ask whether you are actually required and, if so, what they want your role to be. 

Instead of keeping meetings on your calendar as “tentative,” we suggest that you either accept or decline each appointment on Sunday evening. 

When you completely remove meetings from your calendar on Sunday, you are less likely to fall into autopilot and join unnecessary meetings during the week. 

Bonus Benefit

We all know real-time collaboration can be awesome… when we have time for it. By removing unnecessary meetings from your calendar, you open up time for ad hoc meetings throughout the week when you and your teammates need to work together. 

There is no need to wait until Sunday evening to do the 5 Minute Calendar Cleanup. You can use these tips every morning – or better yet, every time you receive a new meeting invitation.

Pro Tip for Meeting Leaders

The 5 Minute Calendar Cleanup will help you project your own time throughout the week.

Additionally, you can help protect your teammates’ time when you are the meeting leader. 

When you use the 5 Minute Calendar Cleanup, look at the calendar invitations you have already sent, and consider whether everyone invited to each of the meetings should be required to attend.

If someone’s attendance is optional, let them know and either move them to the “Optional” line of the invitation or uninvite them completely.

And, if the meeting itself is no longer required, cancel it!

We suggest that you take the time on Sunday nights to consider whether everyone invited to each of the meetings you are leading is actually required. If not, uninvite them!

Key Takeaway

Using the 5 Minute Calendar Cleanup for meeting management puts you into the practice of respecting your own time at work, as well as respecting others’ time. 

Your colleagues will start to notice your actions and may reciprocate by being more intentional about when they do, and do not, invite you to meetings.