Careers advice

Productive things to do between meetings

You’d be amazed at what you can get done.

There are a lot of frustrating things about a day packed with meetings, particularly when many of their objectives could probably have been achieved over email.

As well as feeling like you’re wasting time when sitting in the meeting itself, you also have those annoying gaps in between. These breaks are often just long enough that you aren’t going straight into the next meeting, but short enough that you feel as if you can’t achieve anything meaningful, adding to the overall feeling of time being wasted.

Here, we’ll give you some tips for productive things to do between meetings, so you can get more out of your working day.

Putting those gaps between meetings to good use

1. Prep for the next meeting

If it’s an important meeting coming up next, ideally you won’t have left all of your prep until the last minute, However, this time can be incredibly useful for giving those facts and stats you’re about to wow your audience with a quick once over to ensure they’re fresh in your mind.

For meetings you’re running yourself, you might want to also review your meeting objectives and the tactics you’re going to use to ensure you get the results you’re hoping for.

2. Do some exercise

Anyone who’s sat in back-to-back meetings knows that, after a while, your body tends to go one of two ways. Either you find yourself starting to lose concentration, and the eyelids might even start drooping, or you get super restless and feel like you need to get moving.

Using the gaps between your meetings to do some exercise can solve both of these issues. By moving, you can wake your body up, and sharpen your mind ahead of the next hui, and also shake out any excess energy.

And when we say exercise, we don’t mean running 10k or hitting the gym (that might be tough if you’ve only got five minutes to work with). It could be as simple as something like a walk around the block, you’d be amazed at the difference a bit of fresh air can make to an otherwise stuffy day.

Even a quick walk around around the block can help you clear your head between meetings.

3. Meditate

It’s becoming increasingly common for workplaces to provide a quiet room for staff to use for wellbeing and health reasons, but even if yours doesn’t, meditation is one of those things you can do almost anywhere.

The benefits of meditation from a workday perspective include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Reduced stress.
  • Improved focus and retention.
  • Better decision-making.
  • Greater creativity.

4. Answer some emails

Answering emails is the digital equivalent of attending a meeting – boring, but necessary. If you’re efficient, it doesn’t take too long to respond to a couple of emails, making this the perfect task to accomplish while you have a gap between meetings.

But a word of warning, if it’s an important email that needs some careful thought putting into it (for instance, an important interaction with a client), don’t rush it just in order to feel like you’ve got something done. Focus on the messages you can deal with quickly and effectively, and leave any of the more complicated ones for when you have more time.

5. Do some professional development

You might think that a matter of minutes isn’t enough to further your professional development, but this can be something as simple as reading an article that brings you up to date with the latest developments in your field. We recommend finding a couple of publications that you really like and find interesting, so that you don’t have to spend time searching for them when you only have a limited gap between meetings.

If the break is more like 30 minutes, you might even have time for a quick online tutorial. Again, have something on hand so that you can just sit down, log in and get learning.

Even a few minutes can be enough to read an article or watch a vlog.

6. Take a look at your priority list

We always recommend having a list of your ongoing and upcoming projects on the go. This allows you to have a quick overview of what you’ve currently got on, and prioritise your workflow when new tasks arise. The handful of minutes you have between meetings can be a perfect time to give this list a quick once over and make sure it’s up to date.

7. Clear your space – both virtual and actual

The wee break you get between meetings is a great opportunity to reorganise things. Both your desk and your desktop have a tendency to get cluttered and difficult to manage when you’re running from meeting to meeting.

So, as well as removing any unnecessary junk from the workspace, close that legion of tabs you’ve got open and save all the essential files you’ve been working on. It will be that much nicer to return to after meeting time is over.