In my journey as a leader, I found that managing time effectively is essential. However, it is not easy. When you manage a remote workforce that is large and dispersed, and you work across multiple time zones, countries and cultures, time management becomes complex. The biggest time-waster CEOs experience is the number of low-quality meetings they attend.

According to the Harvard Business Review, all CEOs are plagued by not-so-efficient meetings. Meetings make up a big bulk of a CEO’s day — 72% of their work time is spent in meetings. Thirty-two percent of a CEO’s meetings last an hour, 38% were longer, and 30% were shorter.

So how do we make our meetings more productive?

Here is the system that I perfected over the years that works for me.

I partnered with my executive assistant (EA) to develop a methodology and scorecard, which is used to run and then rate the quality of my meetings. Once you start rating your meetings, your behavior shifts dramatically. Once you establish the criteria, you rate each meeting from A to F. I text my assistant after every meeting and at the end of each week, we discuss a concise list of recommended changes for the upcoming week.

Your scorecard is personal, but here’s the criteria I suggest considering:

  1. Meeting agenda. For me to accept a meeting, it has to have an agenda. This determines the amount of time I want to spend in a meeting and the amount of preparation that’s required. It also helps me identify the urgency of the meeting. The meeting is rated highly if we achieved the objective outlined in the agenda.
  2. Meeting length. I start all my meetings with 30 minutes and extend based on the goal and outcomes I would like to achieve. The correlation between results and the length of the meeting determines the rating.
  3. Meeting attendees. Are the right stakeholders attending? Moreover, were the stakeholders properly prepared for the meeting (that includes me)? The answer to that question determines the rating.
  4. Meeting start/end time. I always try to start and end a meeting on time. If I am running several minutes late, I always reach out to the person or a group and let them know. As a leader, I have always considered it essential to respect other people’s time.
  5. Meeting objective met. Without an agreed outcome and set of actions with responsibilities and deadlines, a meeting is not successful.

Weekly meeting analysis is important. Your assistant aggregates the meeting grades at the end of each week. They provide a meeting report card to you with the following:

  • The average grade for the week.
  • The top three meetings of the week.
  • The bottom three meetings of the week.
  • A concise set of recommended changes to the meeting schedule for the upcoming week based on the learnings from the meeting report card.

The scorecard might seem straightforward and simplistic at first. However, once you implement it and execute it for three-to-four consecutive weeks, I guarantee you will find additional precious hours you didn’t think you had. Your EAs and administrative professionals are your secret weapons in all this. At our company, Lumini Network, we have developed a monthly curriculum that focuses on teaching the most important hacks administrative professionals need to master to enhance the effectiveness of their CEO.

Not only will this approach help you improve the quality of your meetings and free up some time, but it will set an example for others around you and even foster a culture of productivity and clarity. I hope you try this out and get back as much time as I do.