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Flex of the Year: Uninvite Yourself

Posted on May 20, 2022


Looking down on soft pink background with calendar, binder clip, pencil, pink sticky note pad, and white alarm clock with a black face.

Today’s Morning Buzz is by Jessica VanderKolk, Communications Manager for the City of Battle Creek, in Southwest Michigan. Connect with me on LinkedIn, and chat with me on Twitter!

What I’m reading: The President’s Daughter by James Patterson

What I’m watching: The Crown

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and we’re all as busy as ever, I have discovered my flex for 2022:

I uninvite myself from meetings.

Now, my immediate disclaimer is that I still attend plenty of meetings. I schedule meetings. They can help get things done.

But as the one communications teammate for our entire organization, spending many hours of a day in meetings takes away time I need to create and message the wonderful work our team does every day.

Here’s how I decide to politely uninvite myself:

We have a less formal project chat before a scheduled meeting. This happened recently for a report we are creating in-house for the first time. I asked questions about data in the report as I worked on the draft, and several of us jumped on a Teams meeting to discuss the specifics. It didn’t take long, and I got my answers. I uninvited myself from a project status meeting the next week, giving myself time back to work on the draft.

It could be an email. There are so many wonderful recognition weeks in May, and we were prepping to celebrate as many of them as possible with creative and team stories. One department set a meeting about that, after we had already discussed by email. I advanced the email thread, uninvited myself from the meeting, and we successfully completed the project.

Teammates can provide support. So many of our projects are wonderful team efforts, and that means some meetings include many of us. If one of those regular/update meetings falls on a day that has become busier with surprise needs or deadlines, or I’m focused on another project, I uninvite myself and encourage teammates to reach out if they need me.

It didn’t occur to me before now that I even could uninvite myself from meetings. But as years pass, I realize more and more how important it is to protect my time and boundaries as a person and a professional. Getting a few unneeded meetings off my calendar sure does help.

If this resonates with you, I hope you’ll give it a try, and protect your precious time.

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