When Meetings Plague Your Workday

Lately it feels like I’m in meetings most of the day and have to work late nights and weekends to get my job done. What legal career advice do you have to help me regain control of my schedule?

It’s not uncommon for people who work legal jobs to pull the occasional night or weekend shift. But if you’re constantly putting in extra time because you’ve been sucked into the Groundhog Day of endless meetings, that’s a problem. Here are four legal career tips to help you better manage your meeting calendar and take back control of your day.

  1. Be selective. Do you sometimes get meeting invites and wonder why you’ve been asked? If your attendance isn’t mandatory and you’re buried in work, opt out politely. Remember this legal career advice, though: It’s a smart career move to be as informed as possible, so do attend optional meetings whenever possible. Promotions and management-level legal jobs go to those in the know.
     
  2. Be the meeting police.Sometimes people go on a tangent during meetings, making the meeting run long — or even worse, requiring you to schedule yet another meeting to cover all of the agenda items. When attendees go off topic for longer than a few minutes, do what you can to politely get the conversation back on track. Doing so saves everyone valuable time and allows you to be seen as aleader. Just make sure you’re not coming off as bossy or scolding — try using levity and self-deprecating humor to steer people back to the topic at hand.
     
  3. Rally the troops.You can almost predict who the stragglers will be for each meeting. Preempt late start times by stopping by those colleagues’ desks on your way to the conference room and asking whether they’d like to head there together.
     
  4. Pay it forward.Your coworkers’ legal jobs keep them busy, too. When you’re organizing a meeting or phone conference, make sure you’re inviting only those who need to be there. Then stick to the agenda and stay within your allotted hour or half-hour so others don’t view it as a waste of time. Managers and colleagues may even learn by your example, meaning fewer meetings in your future.

Meetings are an unavoidable part of any legal job, but that doesn’t mean they should ruin your productivity. Putting this legal career advice into practice can help add time back into your day.