5 CEO-Approved Rules For Your Work Calendar That Can Help You Avoid Too Many Useless Meetings

Never attend a meeting that could have been an email again!

annoyed woman in a useless meeting Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

At this point, "this meeting could have been an email" has gone beyond a mere catchphrase and become a full-on workplace cliche — one that's driving us crazy at our jobs. CEO Scot Chisholm recently gave some tips regarding this that just might save your sanity.

The CEO shared 5 work calendar rules that will help you avoid useless meetings.

Chisholm is an entrepreneur who's founded four startups, so he's learned a thing or two about work, business, leadership, and motivation along the way. 


He shares his insights on his popular Instagram page @scotchisholm and recently gave a crash course in how professionals can manage their calendars in a way that saves time, makes schedules more efficient, and prioritizes meetings that are actually important instead of the ones always clogging up our days. 



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1. No meetings before 10 a.m.

Or 8 a.m. or 12 p.m. — whatever your ideal schedule may be. But Chisholm said the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. each morning are for him and him alone. 

"There's nothing worse than feeling rushed in the mornings!" he wrote in his post. So, for those morning hours, he doesn't take meetings; instead, he uses this time to get his day started and prioritize "deep work" or tasks that require deep focus and no interruptions. So, you know, the kind of work that often becomes impossible because of all those dumb meetings!



2. Schedule breaks between meetings

If you do have to have several meet-ups, make sure you give yourself time to breathe in between; otherwise, burnout will set in. "You're not your best when you run from meeting to meeting," Chisholm wrote in his post.


He schedules 30-minute blocks between meetings to reflect, take notes, grab a bite to eat, or simply "catch a breath."

3. Focus on 3 types of meetings only

Here's where we separate the wheat from the chaff. Chisholm said he only engages in three kinds of meetings:

  • All-hands meetings that involve his entire team and staff
  • Top goals meetings that focus on details and progress working toward the company or team's top three goals for the year
  • One-on-one personal meetings with key staff members or leadership

Anything that doesn't fit into one of these three categories is in "useless meeting" territory and gets the ax.

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4. Creative Fridays

Fridays are not for meetings, useless or otherwise! Okay, maybe occasionally, but Chisholm tries to make Fridays a bit more fluid and loose.

"Non-stop schedules are the nemesis of creativity," he said, so he takes on a lighter load at the end of the week, using Friday as a "flex day" for whatever projects need attention before the weekend.

5. Keep teams to six people or less

Bosses and managers, this one's for you. According to Chisholm, you should never have more than six people in your orbit at work. 

"I never have more than six direct reports," he said because it helps him avoid "blow[ing] up your calendar with people issues!" Dividing and conquering these staffing issues lightens the load considerably. 




This tip relates to tip number 3. Chisholm said he "blocks" ad hoc meetings — the often impromptu and unstructured gatherings that can eat up so much time. This allows him to prioritize those all-important one-on-one meetings, which he claimed he never misses. 

Chisholm said these five tips took him from a calendar that was "a scattered mess of useless meetings" to a workflow where he gets way more done and has "10x more free time." Who couldn't use more of that? 


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.