Taking Back Time — The Meetings Edition

Kara Monroe
4 min readSep 13, 2023
Photo by Headway on Unsplash

In my most recent personal newsletter, I shared some strategies I’ve been using to keep my energy up and to even rebuild energy simply through how I schedule my day.

As a creative entrepreneur, I have about as much control over my time and calendar as one can have. That said, I worked in a heavily scheduled environment for 20+ years, so I know the full spectrum of owning one’s time versus not owning one’s time. Today, I want to share a mixture of strategies you can try out as mini experiments to see if they help you reclaim more time in your day.

Schedule Your Priorities as Appointments With Yourself

Whether you call this time blocking, appointments with self, or some other name, if your calendar is what you easily follow, then start here. The only way I get myself to work out is if there is an appointment in my calendar for it. And while I love writing and content production, I can get sidetracked easily and go down a research topic rabbit hole. So, this morning’s calendar has a 2-hour block on it for content production, with two smaller blocks inside — one to write this article and one to promote my newsletter.

Time blocking can allow you to protect calendar time from people who actually look to see when you’re available before they schedule meetings. You can always decide if a meeting they might ask you about is more important, but be cautious. It’s a slippery slope to accept a meeting request about a project at face value when you’ve already blocked your time.

Getting started with this is simple. Look at your calendar and find the next two or three blocks of time when you have at least 1 hour — ideally 2, 3, or 4 hours and block them. My former admin and I tried this. We just labeled them GSD for Get Stuff Done. I was terrible and scheduled over them regularly for meetings, so learn from my mistakes.

Avoid Useless Meetings

Even as I type that, I am twitching a little, thinking back over all the hours of my life I sat in meetings with no agenda and no real purpose. They were on our calendars, and so we all showed up. I think many people feel like they can’t question a meeting owner — especially if that person is “above” them in an organizational…

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Kara Monroe

I am a world traveler, part-time road warrior, and home body all wrapped up in one gadget-loving package. Writer, photographer, chef, and aspiring artist.