Did you know that 11 million meetings were held each day in 2019? That adds up to over 4 billion meetings in one year! Since then, with the move to remote and hybrid work, the time spent in meetings has only increased.
That said, the term “meeting” has become so associated with the formal office variety that we often forget it’s an indispensable part of our daily lives. Indeed, almost any appointment in the day can be a meeting—from a dentist’s visit to a workout session. Clearly, it’s time to radically rethink our definition of the word.
By rethinking the meaning of “meeting” and finding the right tools to help you capitalize on that new understanding, you can transform these daily interactions from unproductive to productive, from to-do to done—not only in your work environment but in every aspect of your life.
Capture info like you’re in a meeting
“If you don’t write your ideas down, they could leave your head before you even leave the room.”—Richard Branson
In today’s super-charged world, some believe that note-taking is an outdated practice. However, taking notes is an art and a skill, and the benefits can prove invaluable to your success across every aspect of your life.
Effective note-taking not only helps with your productivity, it makes learning new concepts easier by organizing thoughts in a way that’s easily understandable. From consultations with your doctor or addressing a household issue with your family, to talking with your child’s teacher or planning a potluck with your neighbors, applying this skill to every interaction helps maximize your results.
Note-taking strategies vary, but here a few general guidelines:
- Set goals. Determine what you want out of the “meeting” and the most effective steps needed to get there.
- Prioritize. Decide which aspects of the task or exchange are most important and which are not.
- Prepare questions. Draw up a list of things you need to know before the consult.
- Summarize. Jot down keywords or phrases. Focus on the most pertinent points rather than capturing every little detail.
Power tip: You can use a meeting notes template for a wide range of purposes, to capture and organize information quickly. Creating meeting minutes with Evernote is intuitive and easy, and with all of the information organized in one place, you can easily review your notes as soon as the “meeting” in question is through.
Turn ideas into action items
A productive meeting—whether in a boardroom, at the PTA—or in the dining room, is one where issues are turned into actionable items, prioritizing what needs to happen and when, in order to resolve a pressing issue or realize a particular goal.
Let’s take the dining room “meeting” as an example:
- Define the issue or problem: The home is a mess because people aren’t sharing the housekeeping duties.
- Identify the end goal: Clean up the home and keep it that way.
- Delineate and assign tasks, talking each task through and taking input into account: Divide up the chores (doing the dinner dishes, vacuuming the carpet, folding the laundry) and decide who is going to do what, based on both availability and ability.
- Give deadlines and establish frequency for recurring tasks: The dinner dishes need to be done every night, before TV time, while the carpet only has to be vacuumed once a week, before Sunday evening.
With responsibility delegated, it’s important to manage and track progress. Finally, review the action item on an ongoing basis. Is there something in your process that can be changed to make your “team” more efficient? Are there clear wins that can be applied in the future?
Power tip: Turn actionable items into tasks, complete with reminders, due dates, and flags. Customize tasks and their relevant information in a manner that suits you. By assigning these tasks to team (or family!) members, you can give them access to add notes and suggestions, ensuring that everyone is reading from the same playbook.
Keep everything in one place
Meetings work when everyone has what they need, when they need it, and can readily access the information they don’t have. That includes schedules, stated tasks, the most recent information, and priority updates. Having easy access to all that data in one place means no more sifting through multiple apps or cross-referencing information just to get to the plan. And the best part is that every member of your team can access it fast, whether it be co-workers on a big project or family members whose schedules are ever-changing.
It starts with clarity and ends with accountability. Setting tasks with deadlines and measurable goals ensures that everyone understands what’s expected of them. Make sure everyone has what they need to accomplish the goal, and that each person is up for the responsibility of executing their tasks. If every action item has an owner, a due date, and a clear path, you’ll reach your goals faster, on time, and on budget.
Power tip: Whether for work, home, school, or family matters, use your Home dashboard to plan your day and keep your most relevant information front-and-center in a simple, organized view.
Make every meeting a success
Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, there’s no escape: Meetings are a defining feature of our work and personal lives. The sooner you get them to work for you, the sooner you’ll be able to realize a shared sense of purpose and leverage opportunities for personal growth. Whatever is happening in your life, Evernote can help you keep track and maintain control—not just over your meetings, but every aspect of your busy life.