• Sometimes you can’t avoid useless meetings
  • Use the meeting time to your advantage to get ahead or plan fun stuff
  • Change your mindset on stupid meetings and see the positives to stay happy
The moment you take a seat in the room, you get that gut feeling that this meeting is going to be a huge fucking waste of your time.

As the meeting host starts the session and explains the purpose and agenda, it becomes clear that this really doesn’t have much to do with you and your responsibilities. Your work is only just slightly related to the topic at hand.

You want to just get up and GTFO from there but you can’t because you were either “required” to attend the meeting, “voluntold” by your manager to join or invited by a high level empty suit executive.

Whatever the reason is, you just can’t leave and you have to stick around. You feel trapped and your stress levels are rising because you have so much other important grunt work that needs to be done. Sometimes, you can even feel the number of emails in your inbox growing out of control while you’re stuck in this bullshit meeting.

Rather than just stewing in frustration, you gotta make the best of this situation.

What To Do If You Can’t Get Out Of A Bullshit Meeting

So, there you are. Sitting in frustration. Feeling the cortisol levels in your bloodstream rising. In your head, you’re screaming, “Why the fuck am I here?!” But, you can’t escape.

You’re locked up now for the next hour at the very least. And in worst case situations, you can be trapped in an all-day meeting that has very little to nothing to do with your projects.

As the saying goes, you gotta make the best of the things. Knowing that you can’t just pull the ripcord and parachute out, here are a few productive work-related and non-work personal things you can do.

5 Productivity Focused Things

Sometimes, you just can’t avoid stupid meetings. It’s become a habit for some people to invite anyone who is remotely needed just to cover all their bases. So, if you have no choice but to join, here are some ways to take advantage of the situation.

Establish Or Solidify Relationships

One of the most underappreciated and undervalued tactics of work life is building new relationships and strengthening existing ones. When you’ve got allies in other groups, departments or divisions, they can help you get the shit you need to keep the momentum going on all your projects.

Use this time to establish and form positive kick-ass alliances with new coworkers. Or, build even stronger bonds with existing ones. Even if you don’t have direct impact on the topic, provide your perspective and positive support to them. It’ll go a long way.

Learn And Absorb Things On The Project Anyway

Even if the meeting doesn’t really have much to do with you, it’s a good opportunity to listen in and grasp things. When you have familiarity with other projects or programs at work, you broaden your scope and visibility of what’s happening in the company.

Then, when your boss or coworker is wondering about the status of that project, you can chime in and provide your input. This further polishes your personal brand at work and makes you look good.

Work In The Background

If your company issues laptops, bring yours to the meeting and grab a seat off to the side or toward the back of the room. Then, as the meeting progresses, keep your ears open to the discussion while you read and catch up on some emails.

The key thing here is that you don’t want to dive into some deep thought email replies because it’ll make it much harder to split your attention. The best thing to do is to reply to all those simple requests - just bang ‘em out and get ‘em outta your inbox. Or, do some digital decluttering on your laptop files and archives.

Mentally Review And Write Down Follow Ups

If you don’t have a laptop, then you can mentally go through your list of to-do’s. Think through each project you have and write down all of the next steps or follow-ups that you need to take.

One of the big hurdles with working on cross-functional projects is getting what you need from unresponsive coworkers so that you can move on to the next step. This is an ideal time to write down who you have to follow up with and what actions you need to take next.

Write Down Key Wins For Annual Review

It’s a simple fact that your career is way more successful than you think. Nearly all of us tend to short-change ourselves and compare our progress to other high performers in the organization. This is the wrong approach. You gotta highlight and remember your wins.

Use the time in this irrelevant meeting to mentally go through all of your key wins - big and small, and write all that shit down on a piece of paper. This way, when your performance review comes up, you’ll be prepared to put together an ultimate 30-day plan for acing your annual review.

5 Non-Work Related Things

Just because you’re physically in this bullshit meeting doesn’t mean that you can’t do other personal things in your head. Everyone doesn’t have to be 100% productive at all times - that’s a quick path to burnout.

There are personal things that you can do during the meeting that can help you destress and stir up some joy and happiness.

Do Breathing Meditations

Meditating is a scientifically proven way to reduce your stress levels. You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk either. Here’s a newbie’s guide to meditating at work that can be your starter. Take a read through it later.

For now, meditating during a meeting does require some changes. After all, you can’t be seen sitting in a meeting with your eyes closed like you're taking a nap at work - even though we’re big fans of that. You gotta do open eye meditations so you don’t look weird and attract unwanted attention.

Plan A Solo Weekend Getaway

What’s more fun than planning a solo weekend getaway all for yourself? How epic would that be, right? With all the shit that is going on in your work and personal life, it’s mandatory for you to press pause on life once in a while.

This isn’t about daydreaming of an exotic getaway. This is for real. Write down three to five realistic places that you can go to this weekend that are doable budget-wise. Then, start planning. Clear your schedule. Find coverage for family and kids. Start booking. 

List & Prioritize Personal Tasks That Need To Get Done

Just like how you have tons of tasks at work, you have just as many if not more tasks in your personal life. Now is the time to mentally go through all of your personal to-do’s and write them all down. It doesn’t have to be some big audacious task like planning your retirement. It can be simple stuff like sanitizing your gross keyboard.

Write down all your personal tasks. Then, reduce that list to the top ten tasks that need to be done this month. Next, take that top ten and then prioritize the top five that you need to do this week. Figure out what day and time and how you plan to get it done.

Email Or Text Your Friends And Family

The great thing about smartphones is that you can easily send quick and short emails and/or text messages to friends and family no matter where you are at the office. This includes the dumb meeting you’re forced to attend.

This is a great time to reply to your friends and family. Get them the info they need. Or, just send a short message to say hi and ask how things are going. Tell ‘em about boosting happiness with a jar of awesome and other discoveries. Your relationships are one of the most important factors in sustaining your happiness.

Schedule An Afterwork Destress Activity

It’s all too common to fall into the trap of a robotic routine every single day. Wake up, go to work, work all day, go home, eat, sleep and repeat. Every day becomes very routine with no variety.

You gotta mix it up. And there’s no better way to do that than giving yourself some fun time after work. It’s important to unwind your mind after work so that you can decompress and chill out for a bit. So, think about what relaxing thing you can do today after work, schedule it and do it.

Take Advantage Of Bullshit Meetings For Yourself

Meetings are essential to business and productivity. Every project, task, milestone and goal is inextricably tied to teamwork. Progress is driven by the collective effort of everyone in the organization.

The problem is that more and more people don’t have a good grasp of truly knowing who they should and shouldn’t invite to their meetings. Or, more simply, not having in-person meetings to begin with and just doing it via online meetings without the tech issues.

Irrelevant and useless meetings are becoming endemic to the corporate world and it’s crippling everyone’s productivity, except for you.

You’ve got a new take on useless meetings. It’s no longer a stressor but a chance for you to manage work stress with some planning. It’s an ideal time for you to get ahead on other work and/or take care of yourself. Do this right and that original feeling of frustration will give way to opportunistic planning.

Feel Better,

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