We have all been in a meeting that could have been handled through email. And we have all been part of an email chain that, due to its complexity and nuance, really should have been handled in a face-to-face (F2F) meeting.
We have all had the experience of getting lost in our work, of forgetting time and restraints, of reaching what might be called a flow state — and receiving a phone call or hearing an alarm on our computer or smart phone that calls us away from that work. To a meeting.
Perhaps even more damaging, and less easily recognized, we have all been prevented, time and time again, from reaching that flow state because we are constantly watching a clock or looking at our calendars or setting alarms or asking colleagues to interrupt us. Our awareness of impending meetings, and our constant need to plan for them or keep track of them, can act like an ankle bracelet keeping us under a constant, low-grade house arrest.
Our leaders serve us best when they think about our time and our talents — how to save the former and give us the greatest opportunity to develop, exercise, and share the latter. Meetings often have the opposite effect; executed poorly, organized around the wrong set of tasks, or calling together the wrong group of colleagues at the wrong hours of the day, meetings can waste time, grind good people down, and reduce opportunities for people to share their talents.