I wanted to write a post on time management tips for women in honor of women’s history month, but anything I came up with sounded too snarky, and even worse, inaccurate.
It occurred to me that women may not need time management advice but tips on how to survive some of the things they have to do but may not want to do. My mind leapt immediately to meetings, in particular meetings at work, perhaps staff meeting or some kind of large committee meeting that pursues laudable yet opaque goals.
At first I was going to create a bingo card but those could look bad if you were to fill them out during the meeting, and I don’t mean to add stress to your lives.
So instead I thought I’d offer this mildly snarky rating quiz, rather like the ones you might find in a women’s magazine.
1. Was food provided at the meeting?
a. Yes, a few cheap candies that throw off your nutritional goals for the day. -1 point
b. Yes, so much that you don’t need lunch, courtesy of your organization. +5 points
c. Yes, a potluck provided thanks to guilt trips on you and your underpaid colleagues. -5 points
d. No. 0 points
e. Not only is there no food, but you are not allowed to bring in a cup of coffee. -10 points
2. Do the same people do all of the talking during the meeting?
a. Yes, 10% of the attendees do 90% of the talking. -1 point
b. No, it varies, and you’ve even spoken up a few times, and you are not even one of those people who always talks. +10 points
c. Yes, and it’s the facilitator of the meeting. -10 points
d. You’ve never noticed because you can’t seem to pay attention. 0 points
3. Could this meeting have been a memo?
a. Yes. 0 points
b. No, a few of the comments by several participants made a difference to what you will be able to accomplish. +10 points
c. No, because someone brought up something the meeting facilitator didn’t know. +5 points
4. If it were possible to record a past meeting and set it up on instant replay, could it substitute for this meeting?
a. Yes. Even the people are the same. -1 point
b. Yes, just different people. -1 point
c. No, but this is the first time you’ve attended this type of meeting so you don’t know why everyone is so cranky. -10 points
d. No, this meeting was different, but in terrifying ways because of a not-so-positive change in management. -5 points
e. No, each meeting covers new ground. Your organization doesn’t use meetings to do anything that could be done more effectively outside of the meetings. +10 points
5. Rate your level of boredom.
a. Bored? Never. You are on the edge of your seat. You can see so many possibilities in this organization. You are inspired. +100 points
b. You’re fine. Wait, what was the question? 0 points
c. You are losing all sensation in your fingertips. -10 points
6. You have shared ideas with the meeting facilitator about how to improve the meetings, and this was the result:
a. The meeting facilitator implemented one or more of your ideas. +10 points
b. The meeting facilitator stared at you in silence, clearly wondering why you are trying to steal their job. -10 points
c. The meeting facilitator agreed those were great ideas. Yet nothing changes in any future meetings. 0 points
d. You are the meeting facilitator, and you resent the tone of this quiz. -10 points
If your score is below zero, you are in meeting purgatory. Take deep breaths a half hour before the meeting starts, engage in tense-and-relax exercises during the meeting, and chat with a good friend after the meeting.
If your score is 0, your meetings are typical. Sorry about that.
If your score is above 0, my advice is to appreciate what is working while you can.
If your score is over 100, I’m curious where you work. Asking for a friend.