There have been a number of recent posts that make the case for the mornings as the time of peak productivity. For the average person, that window is between 9 AM and 11 PM. However, what do most people do during those hours? They check email, browse Facebook, or sit in meetings. That is not the best way to use the most creative and productive hours of the day. However, most workplaces structure their day in a way that squanders the efficiency of their human capital.


I propose a better work day and an example is below. Since I work in software development and love Agile, I’ve included a morning Scrum in my example. In my experience, Scrums are best held in the morning before team members settle into their day. A Scrum should take no more than 30 minutes. The ones I run average around 7 minutes in duration, but I allocate half an hour for padding. You can replace that scrum time with whatever works for your industry.

MeetingBox


Notice that the afternoon is reserved for meetings because people have usually spent their productivity doing their morning work. Also, notice that there are only 2 options for meetings: 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM. I call this the "Meeting Box" because that's the time box within which all meetings must be scheduled. I believe that meetings are massive wastes of time, and most of them are run poorly. So, limiting the number of meeting slots forces meeting organizers to schedule and manage them wisely. Of course, if your office has three meeting rooms, then you can have 3 meetings at 2:00 (one in each room). Or, if your organization uses virtual meetings, you can have nearly an unlimited number of meetings inside the Meeting Box as long as the attendees vary. However, they all should last no longer than one hour.


I also propose a rule that you cannot schedule a meeting any earlier than the next day. If something is urgent, instead of scheduling a meeting right now to discuss the problem, find a key decision maker and engage one on one. Afterwards, send an email summary of the problem and selected decision to all stakeholders.


I once worked at company that had a "Meeting Free Day" where no meetings could be scheduled. Our Meeting Free Day was every Friday. Having the Meeting Box and Meeting Free Day are great ways to unleash productivity by creating Meeting Free Zones at work.