This guide offers advice on deferring or declining unnecessary meetings, as well as a variation on the Eisenhower Matrix to spur focused decision-making — all in the pursuit of better productivity. “People who think that you are available all the time will start to devalue you (if they haven’t already),” Naphtali Hoff writes.



In previous productivity steps, we planned our work (Step 1) put systems into place to keep our people informed and in sync (Step 2) and rolled up our sleeves to get work done (Step 3) Now, we turn our attention to Step 4, sustaining for maximal productivity.

So often, we get excited about a new process but lack the tools, commitment and/or mindset to see it to completion and long-term integration. This is particularly true when there are multiple elements to it and a number of people involved.

Just because we decided to become more productive and took initial action toward that end does not guarantee long-term success or maximal productivity. (John Kotter once estimated that 70% of change initiatives he saw were failures. See more about managing healthy change here.)

The goal of this fourth step is to empower you to keep going in the face of expected setbacks and maintain the requisite level of well-being required for succeeding over the long haul.To sustain our productivity gains, we need to become more protective of our time. And perhaps the biggest time suck that we experience, from executives all the way through the organization, are meetings.

Research suggests that many executives feel overwhelmed by meetings. This is because, on average, they spend nearly 23 hours a week in them! Compounding matters is that these meetings are often ill-timed, poorly run, or both (no wonder people consider about 50% of meetings to be a complete waste of time).