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Productivity tips, calendar hacks, & product updates from the Reclaim team.

No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company
August 19, 2021

Do you and your team spend way too much time in meetings, and are never left with enough time to get through your heads-down work? Not that meetings aren’t important, they are! But the amount of meetings the average worker has to attend takes away time from the productive deep work time needed to complete the actual tasks and responsibilities of the job. And while it’s easy to default to “let’s get everyone together for a meeting to discuss” every time a conflict arises, this instinct is what’s causing your calendar to be overrun with meetings week after week.

If meetings are consuming a large portion of your workweek, it’s time to start defending heads-down time on your calendar. The mass consumption of meeting time not only eats away at your productivity, but can lead to low team morale and overall burnout which is hard to come back from. However, the simple act of blocking off one “no-meeting” day a week can guarantee you and the rest of your team each a solid 8 hours of productivity back to actually focus on the important work that needs to get done.

In this article, learn the advantages of meeting-free days, and how you can build an irrefutable case for adopting a “no-meeting” day to increase productivity for your team.

Advantages of no-meeting days

Why are no-meeting days so popular? Here are just a few advantages you could bring to your team:

Reduce distractions

By implementing no-meeting days, you and your team are able to work without the distraction of meetings for an entire day, dramatically reducing the ‘context switching’ problem that can so often take you off task. Even if you attended a 30-minute meeting that was extremely productive, it takes an average of 20 minutes to get back to a task before you were interrupted. No-meeting days allow you to dedicate time to starting and finishing a task fully without being distracted by other people's priorities.

Increase productivity

By eliminating distracting meetings one day a week, you and your team are able to invest this time in deep work, or work sessions that require 2 hours or more of your time. These time blocks can be very difficult to find in a meeting-packed workweek! Which could mean you’re either slowly chipping away at the work unproductively, or you just keep postponing the task since you don’t have any time to do it. By giving yourself the focus time you need for your important deep work, you’re able to increase your productivity by allowing yourself to enter an efficient state of flow and tackle more challenging tasks.

Boost team morale

Having a day solely dedicated to catching up (or getting ahead) can be a major morale booster. Working late into the night, starting early, or having to work over the weekend because you just didn’t have enough time during the workweek can be draining - especially when it turns into the normal. Not to mention the feeling at the end of the week that you got nothing accomplished - how is that even possible when you worked so hard! Help your team be successful by giving them the time and space to be productive - it will go far in reducing everyone’s stress and allowing your team to feel confident and accomplished in their work.

Better meetings

There’s nothing worse than kicking off a meeting only to find half the people are unprepared and unengaged. Meeting fatigue is absolutely a real thing. Maybe you’re not prepared because you didn’t have time to work on the action items, or maybe you’re not engaged because the meeting topic is not relevant to your priorities. There are way too many pointless meetings these days, and no-meeting days can really give you an opportunity to determine which ones are and which you can do without.

How to implement no-meeting days for your team

So, now that you know the amazing advantages, here's how you can start team-wide meeting free days at your company.

1. Build your case for no-meeting days and get buy-in

In order for no-meeting days to be successful, you have to have buy-in from everyone at your company. It’s actually a pretty easy sell, as there’s no shortage of data on how much wasted time people spend in meetings. Here are a few stats on the advantages of no-meeting days that you can use to make your case:

  • 78% of people feel that their meeting schedule is either always or sometimes out of control, and most blame their crazy meeting schedules on upper management or their direct manager, according to Better Meeting
  • Professionals attend two hours of pointless meetings per week according to Project Managers News - that’s 5% of the average person's time at work each year.
  • 71% of managers said meetings are unproductive and inefficient and 65% feel meetings keep them from completing their own work, according to Harvard Business Review.
  • 67% of workers say excessive meetings keep them from getting their best work done, according to this CNBC article.
  • Time spent in meetings has been rising between 8-10% annually since 2000 and is likely to continue increasing, according to this Wall Street Journal article.

If you’re feeling the pressure and strain of excess meetings at your company, it’s highly likely that you’re not alone, so don’t be afraid to make the case internally - your colleagues will be thanking you for years to come!

The best place to start would probably be first reaching out to your direct manager to get their support, and then circulate the idea throughout the rest of your team to see if everyone is on board. 

To make things as easy as possible, here’s a bulletproof email template you can use and customize to get initial buy-in from your manager for a no-meeting day at your company:

Hi [manager],

I wanted to run a crazy, not so crazy, idea past you that I keep seeing across productivity articles lately - having a “no meeting” day every week.

I was thinking about it when I was working [early/late] last week catching up on that [insert important task] task after our team meeting ran long, and just kept thinking this could really help our team keep focus to reach our goal for the [insert big important project] we want to get done by [insert project due date].

The concept is pretty simple, we pick and block off one day a week where we have no meetings so everyone can have a solid day of heads-down work without interruption. There’s supposed to be just a ton of productivity advantages, and I know you’re just as busy (probably even busier!) than me, so I thought I would run this by you first to see what you think?

I think it’s definitely worth trying out for a couple weeks if the team is up for it! Let me know if it sounds interesting, and I can put together a quick poll to shoot to the team to see what everyone thinks.

Thanks!


This is bound to get a reaction from your manager, as their wheels start turning on what they can do with their own meeting-free day every week! As soon as you get the yes from your manager, you can put together a short poll to shoot to your team via Slack, email, or whatever communication platform you use!

Hey team,

I know we’ve all been swamped with meetings lately, so I brought up a crazy idea to [manager] that we’re pretty excited about - having a dedicated “no-meeting” day every week.

This would give each of us a solid day each week for deep work that would allow us to just focus on our tasks without having to context switch between meetings throughout the day. I think this could go a long way in our [insert big important project] goal we want to get done by [insert project due date]. Not to mention all the other no-meeting day advantages like less overtime work in evenings and weekends, and better overall team morale.

Anyway, we’d love to hear what you think! Here’s a quick poll where you can vote yes/no and we’ll see if it’s something we want to test out for a few weeks :)

Thanks!


2. Analyze your calendar to find the best day of the week

Now that you have team buy-in and everyone is beyond-pumped to have a 100% dedicated day to heads-down deep work every week, it’s time to look at your calendars to see which day works best for your team. The best place to start is to ask yourselves how you’re currently managing your time and priorities across the workweek:

  • Which day of the week does everyone feel the most pressure?
  • Which day of the week does your sprint/cycle end?
  • Which days are most meeting-heavy today?
  • Are there days that people need to be in meetings for their role?

No-meeting Fridays are really popular, as it’s a nice way to end the week and wrap up on a productive day so you can get through all of the work items you’ve discussed throughout your meetings that week. One drawback is that Fridays are also a popular PTO day, so while convenient for not missing meetings when you’re out of the office, it’s also a big loss when you lose your one productive day in a week.

Another good alternative is no-meeting Wednesdays because it’s in the middle of the week which gives you a nice break from four straight meeting-heavy days. This mid week no-meeting option would give your team the chance to get caught up on any tasks that were not handled at the start of the week and the opportunity to get ahead to finish out the week strong. 

3. Implement across the team calendars

You are all set to (re)schedule! Now that you have your no-meeting day of the week picked out, it’s time to clean up your calendar to move any recurring meetings like team meetings, one-on-one’s, or demo’s scheduled on that day to a different day of the week. 

Depending on whether this is adopted in your team or department only, or organization-wide, you might want to take an extra step to proactively defend this time from incoming schedulers. While your team knows that you’re keeping this day free of meetings, Bob from accounting may need to get time with you to go over some new expense reporting updates, and if he sees that time open on your calendar, it could very well be taken.

You set aside this time for a reason, so it's imperative that you really plan your calendar that day around your most important work. Reclaim.ai can help with this by blocking time on your no-meeting days for your routines and priority tasks. For example, if you really like to catch up on product strategy work on your no-meeting days, you can create a Habit in Reclaim for that day to guarantee that you have a plan for that time. Similarly, if you have important Tasks that have been burning a hole in your to-do list, use Reclaim to schedule them automatically so that your free time gets occupied with the stuff that really matters.

Here’s how you can set up your no-meeting day with Reclaim and Google Calendar:

  1. Create an all-day calendar event on your no-meeting day to recur every week
  2. Change the event availability from “Free” to “Busy”
  3. Add #reclaim_free to the event description

That’s it! Now your Tasks and Habits created through Reclaim will auto-schedule on your calendar on your no-meeting days, but your availability is blocked from any incoming meetings.

Another side benefit to consider, while you’re cleaning up your calendar, see if there are any meetings that you could actually just do without and cancel them from your schedule. Meetings have a way of turning into recurring meetings, which can often just be replaced with status updates, so take advantage of this time to reconsider your schedule to see if you can’t squeeze a little more productive time into your workweek.

4. Keep everyone meeting free

Congratulations! You now have a no-meeting day implemented at your company, and successfully guaranteed 8 hours x (team size) = a whole lot of awesome productivity and output for your team every week.

As much as you want to hear the hard part is over, this is not a ‘set and forget’ thing! Meetings have a pesky way of presenting themselves basically any time an opportunity or conflict appears, so it’s up to you to make sure you stay strong and do your best to uphold your one dedicated meeting-free day each week. 

This is not to say that there shouldn’t be room for exceptions! If an emergency arises, or another team member is absolutely blocked (wasting their productive day) and needs a quick sync, you can definitely leave some room for flexibility to keep the engine running. 

Another important thing to note, certain roles just don’t have the flexibility to work without meetings, internal or external. For example, a salesperson typically has to have meetings in order to drive sales with new clients. On the other hand, if you’re a back-end engineer, you probably don’t need to attend meetings as frequently because your work is usually very much problem and solution-based that is handled through communicating directly in code. 


So, even though you can’t avoid all meetings, you can be the team hero and help everyone get some time back with a no-meeting day every week. This simple yet effective time management strategy can help push your team to be more selective with their time and tasks throughout the week, across both meetings and heads-down work sessions alike. Looking for more ammo to help support your no-meetings day case? Shoot us a tweet @reclaimai and we can help you out!

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Durable Identity: Employee-Friendly SaaS for Life Changes

The average person changes jobs every 4.1 years, but you shouldn't have to re-sign up for every SaaS app that often. The future of work will be more durable - your identity will survive life changes.
Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity
August 31, 2021

Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity

"This meeting could’ve been an email.” We're all thinking it. Even 71% of senior managers feel their meetings are unproductive. Reduce meetings and boost productivity with weekly status reports.
The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care
August 26, 2021

The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care

The best time to meditate depends on your intention and your schedule. But no matter when you meditate, you can reap the benefits. The important thing is that you make time for this healthy habit.
Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools
August 24, 2021

Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools

Staying organized can feel like a constant battle for people with ADHD before you find your ideal rhythm and workflow. Here are the top ADHD organization tools to help you become more productive.
No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company
August 19, 2021

No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company

Are meetings consuming your workweek? 78% of people feel their meeting schedule is out of control - see how one no-meeting day a week can improve your productivity, team morale and prevent burnout.
Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman
August 17, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman

Working as JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman, Ben shares how he balances priorities while developing the JSON Schema strategy and it's tooling, and supports the open-source community.
Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite
August 11, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite

Shay Kingsbury at Hootsuite shares how she balances priorities while leading merger and acquisition integration and Go To Market for Sparkcentral at the social media marketing and management platform.
Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages
August 10, 2021

Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages

Slack released a much-anticipated feature in June of 2021: scheduled sends for Slack messages. This, paired with some awesome Status syncing capabilities from Reclaim, can help you become a rockstar Slack communicator and role model for your team.
Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk
August 9, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk

Michele Wiedemer at Synk shares how she balances priorities while developing the education training program for security champions and developers at the open source security platform.
Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever
August 4, 2021

Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever

Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by as much as 3 years, and you’ll sleep better and feel less stressed too. Here's how to optimize your workouts for the best time of day.
Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People
July 28, 2021

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People

Reading has amazing benefits, and 35% of people want to do it more. It increases verbal intelligence, makes you a better leader, reduces stress, and fends off Alzheimer’s. Here are 5 tips to try out.
Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square
July 26, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square

Rohini Pandhi, a Product Lead at Square, shares her style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the product efforts for one of the top digital payment companies in the world.
15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work
July 22, 2021

15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work

Check out the top 15 Slack apps productive teams are using today to build and support the future of work at their organization across calendar management, project management, status updates, HR and team building.
Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge
July 19, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge

Connor MacDonald at The Ridge shares his style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the marketing vision for the brand that brought the world the first RFID-blocking wallet.
Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools
July 7, 2021

Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools

We get asked almost every day: what's the difference between Reclaim.ai and Clockwise? While we're both in the smart calendar space, there are some key differences to consider.
Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips
July 2, 2021

Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips

Need to create better calendar event titles to communicate context to your invitees, colleagues and incoming schedulers? Calendar communication starts with the first thing people see: the event title.
Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity
June 22, 2021

Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your quality of work, energy level, and creativity? In this article, learn 5 ways in which taking a lunch will actually boost your productivity.
Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time
June 17, 2021

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

Learn the 5 key differences between effective vs. pointless meetings, and 3 tips to avoid unnecessary meetings getting booked on your calendar.
3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
June 10, 2021

3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

You want work-life balance, but work and life can't separate into equal halves. Forget balance, here are three ways to make work-life harmony a reality.
Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉
May 26, 2021

Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉

We're excited to announce that Reclaim has raised $4.8M in seed funding led by Index Ventures. Here's what comes next.
Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management
May 25, 2021

Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management

How to use the Pareto Principle 80/20 rule to block time for your priorities.
3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus
April 28, 2021

3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus

While you may think multitasking is a skill you can master, only 2.5% of people can do it effectively. Your brain performs best when “single-tasking”, focusing on only one thing at a time.
How to Create a Smart Calendar
April 22, 2021

How to Create a Smart Calendar

A smart calendar can help you simplify calendar management and boost productivity. Here's how to create a smart calendar so you can take control of your busy schedule.
Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them
April 9, 2021

Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them

Most time management advice is out of touch with reality. Here are the top 3 problems with it and how to solve them.
Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek
April 5, 2021

Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek

We're excited to announce that Planner is now available in public beta for all Reclaim users. Planner lets you prioritize and schedule all your Tasks and Habits exactly the way you want, every week.
4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules
March 25, 2021

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Time blocking is the habit of mindfully scheduling daily and weekly tasks to get everything done as efficiently as possible. A time blocking planner is used to organize your new, efficient schedule.
Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It
March 16, 2021

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

How do you stop context switching from eating into your productive time? We look at tactics to help you reduce task switching and improve your concentration at work.
Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track
March 8, 2021

Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track

It's not always easy to achieve deep focus in the modern workplace. Here are evidence-based strategies you can use to improve your focus during the workday.
Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar
March 1, 2021

Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar

Most managers calendars are dominated by needless meetings and tasks that should be delegated. 50% of the week is gone and you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing. Time to prioritize your calendar.
Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar
September 1, 2020

Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar

We just launched Tasks. It's like your backlog and your calendar decided to make it official and get hitched.
Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines
June 26, 2020

Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines

Struggling to make time for the things that matter in these crazy times? Never fear, Habits are here.
Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix
May 27, 2020

Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix

We had a chance to sit down virtually with Zachary Smith, who founded Packet before it was acquired by Equinix, where he now serves as Managing Director for their bare metal and edge computing business.
Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts
May 11, 2020

Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts

We just launched Reclaim Assistant, a smarter way to get your calendar under control.
The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need
April 23, 2020

The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need

Tired of reading posts about Google Calendar hacks and tips that just aren't useful? This is the one for you.
4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home
April 16, 2020

4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home

If you're new to working from home or working remotely, these new features from Reclaim will help you to keep your sanity intact.
5 ways to help your remote teams
March 31, 2020

5 ways to help your remote teams

Now that your teams are remote, how do you make sure they don't burn out? Here are 5 ways to help your remote teams keep things balanced.
How good is your work-life balance?
February 7, 2020

How good is your work-life balance?

How defended is your work calendar? Here are some numbers that might make you wonder.
Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!
January 24, 2020

Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!

We're excited to announce the launch of Reclaim LifeWork. Automatically block time on your work calendar for personal events, and never miss out on life again.
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