Are recurring meetings bad?

“Open your calendar, cancel all your recurring meeting”

I’ve seen this kind of advice. You probably have seen it too. Many times articles and guides about how to reclaim your time, describe recurring meetings as one of the first poisonous element to eradicate from your agenda.

But why? For me, recurring meetings are good.

They are a pillars around which I get work done. While working on multiple projects, I can space out meetings in a predictable way for everybody working with me.

I coach team into having a habit of continuously get feedback about their work —also, but not exclusively— through recurring meetings such as dailies, reviews and retrospectives: am I part of the problem?

Sometimes, when you see companies from the outside like I do, you forget how it is from the inside.

When I accidentally get a glimpse of someone else’s calendar through a screen share, makes me think about what the real problem might be: multiple recurring meetings in parallel, at the same time, every day, for the entire year.

Why that happens? Because blocking time in a recurring way makes sense, intuitively: we don’t like unexpected meetings, and having recurring ones makes us feel organized.

The problem with that intuitive thinking is that doesn’t make sense at scale: we end up with multiple recurring meeting at the same time, every day, because everyone we work with wants a predictable piece of our agenda.

Use RSVP more strictly — I see most people not using RSVP at all.

Build an agenda — Another common point of failure.

Have a designated facilitator — We jus send invites, nobody “owns” the meeting.

Create simple meeting rules — What makes us say “That was a good meeting?”.

You might want to cancel some of your recurring meetings: after all, you can’t be in more than one meeting at once. But, mainly, I suggest that you should take better care of how you organize your recurring meetings.

From the field is a series of articles about conversations I have on the field with colleagues, clients and teams