Get Rid of “1-hour”

onehourGo ahead and look at your calendar right now. My guess is that your day, especially your work day, is largely carved up into 1-hour chunks of meetings or activities. Fair to assume that recreational or wellness activities are also chopped into 1-hour blocks. Perhaps a 1-hour yoga class or massage or work out at your gym. Even classes at school are mostly in 1-hour blocks. That most of what we do is in 1-hour increments is a safe argument to make. Now consider whether there is any research that suggests, even remotely, that 1-hour is the right amount of time to conduct any activity much less all activities? I will save you the google search – there is none.

There is no research that a business meeting requires 1-hour on average. Some may require 5 minutes, others 90 minutes and some may not require any meeting at all. There is no research that a conversation, business or personal, requires 1-hour. As an executive coach, I end some of my sessions in 10 minutes when I feel there is enough content for that session and any thing more would only dilute the initial content. There is no research that a teacher needs 1-hour to transfer any amount of knowledge to a room of students all of which consume knowledge differently and at different paces.There is no research that shows spending exactly 1 hour in the gym is the right amount for your body, your physical goals or the workout you are doing. The reality is that the 1-hour block is more of a business model than a learning, conversation or effective business decision-making model. Just because outlook calendar is carved out in 1-hour chunks does not mean that you should be using your time in that manner. My own experience is that the majority of these 1-hour activities can not only be done in much less time but in fact, are also more effective in less time.
This week, seriously look at your calendar and question both all the activities in it and whether or not 1-hour is actually what is needed to achieve the desired outcome. This consideration could easily result in giving yourself, as a leader, and those around you the precious gift of time to think and thoughtfully react as opposed to reacting with speed or fatigue. The latter rarely has resulted in great ideas or discussion.
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