The magic of adding to-don'ts to your meeting to-dos

Everything in life has a downside, including getting better at meetings. When I teach people how to facilitate better meetings, they typically become much more efficient at moving people from talk to action. One unintended consequence is that, unlike ineffective meetings, people leave with more to-dos than they maintain actually have capacity for. This is complicated by the facts that groups that are realistic know that the actual time any committed task might be unknowable until we actually get into it, given everything else involved.

An interesting and smart practice is to ask people in meetings what, as a result of taking on more tasks, are there any current tasks they can reduce time in, postpone or delete altogether. New tasks can make old tasks less important or urgent. Ultimately, it's getting people to be more intentional about timing.