Bring a Stopwatch to Your Next Meeting

© s_l - Fotolia.com Meetings are perhaps one of the most unproductive aspects to work life. While unavoidable, they take away precious time from actually completing tasks and force employees to sit in a room with each other where the majority will tune out and pay more attention to their smartphones than the actual topic at hand. A great way to counteract this is by bringing a stopwatch.

 Sam Shank, CEO and co-founder of HotelTonight found that their weekly update meetings were growing longer and less productive as their team grew. So, they began putting a time limit on updates, "complete with a timer that quacks when your turn is up," Shank wrote.

Every team and organization is different, so it's up to you to decide how long each update should take. For HotelTonight, that's three minutes. Some might need more time to go over the week's updates, while others might need less. Experiment with different times to figure out what works for you.

"Why did Shank and his team make the change? "Time-constrained meetings force each updater to keep things concise and engaging, holding the rest of the team’s attention and leaving plenty of time for questions, compliments and shout-outs," Shank said.

He adds that his team's meetings have become more focused and everyone still have tons of energy to get back to their important tasks.