How To Radically Rethink Your Calendar, Reset Your Job Search For 2023 And More
Have you made a New Year's resolution to carve out more time to think, focus and steer clear of so many meetings? When Shopify employees returned from their holiday break, it was done for them. As I reported yesterday, employees there learned Tuesday that every recurring meeting with three or more people would be automatically canceled and removed […]
Have you made a New Year's resolution to carve out more time to think, focus and steer clear of so many meetings? When Shopify employees returned from their holiday break, it was done for them.
As I reported yesterday, employees there learned Tuesday that every recurring meeting with three or more people would be automatically canceled and removed from their calendars. They were instructed not to add them back for at least two weeks—if at all—being careful to evaluate which ones really mattered.
The practice isn’t new. Other companies, particularly in the tech sector, have made similar moves as productivity concerns increase, burnout and mental health issues rise and the half-hour Zoom habits of the pandemic have lingered. As I wrote about in August, software platform GitLab has annual “meeting cleanup” days, Asana conducted experiments last spring called “meeting doomsday” and Slack has “Focus Fridays”—executives there have practiced “calendar bankruptcy” to temporarily remove and review standing meetings.
Shopify wants to take the practice further, requiring large “all-hands” meetings to take place no more than once a week and creating a bot to alert those who try to schedule a meeting on Wednesdays. (They’re considering some other interesting ideas you can read more about here.) It’s all part of a broader effort to become “a better operating company,” Shopify’s chief operating officer Kaz Nejatian told me, as the global commerce company aims to move faster following a year when it had to lay off workers and its shares plummeted nearly 75% amid inflation pressure and consumer shopping changes. “We think it’s important to force change,” Nejatian told me. “You build a muscle by doing it.”
To me, this is what’s most interesting to me about this approach. Simply telling managers to schedule fewer meetings probably won’t work. Outlook calendars don’t clean up by themselves. Real change often needs a forcing mechanism that can overcome the inertia and stickiness of the tools we use to operate our work lives. By automatically deleting standing meetings and requiring that people add them back only if they’re needed, workers are compelled to radically rethink and reevaluate how their time is being spent.
How could you implement this with your team or your own calendar? Could you temporarily pull large meetings off the calendar to force a reset? Create alerts to notify managers to reconsider if they’re scheduling them for unpopular times? Set limits on how many large meetings can be held in a week? After three years of remote work-fueled meeting bloat, such forcing mechanisms might help free up your time—and your team’s time—to do the work that really matters this year.
It’s just one idea of many that Forbes journalists and contributors have been sharing for getting a fresh launch to the year ahead. We highlight a few in the newsletter below, but what are your career goals for 2023? From addressing burnout on your team to what you should have on your resume this year, we have ideas to get you started on the right foot. Here’s to a healthy, inspiring and productive New Year—as always, thanks to Emmy Lucas for her help curating this week’s newsletter.
Article written by: Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family.
Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.