Does your attention tend to slump later in the day? Is the “3PM wall” a real thing? Just when IS the best time to meet?
Turns out there is more than one answer… but there are guidelines!
The answer to this question is actually the dreaded “It depends,” since timetables, personal tendencies and work cultures vary from company to company. But there are general guidelines regarding meeting times, since a reported 17% of a typical work week is spent in meetings, determining the best times to meet can actually yield significant productivity.
Scheduling a meeting between 2:30PM – 3:00PM is a good trade-off between earliness and enough prep time
The most referenced pieces of evidence for optimal meeting times are studies conducted by YouCanBookMe and When Is Good, both scheduling apps that processed large amounts of data, recommending meetings be held at 2:30PM and 3:00PM on Tuesdays, respectively. YouCanBookMe cited availability as the main reason, and noted that most attendees feel the least amount of pressure attending a meeting with a shorter to-do list. When Is Good argues 3:00PM is early enough that participants do not start clock-watching, and gives enough time for attendees to prepare the materials.
Another option: adopt the “Swiss Trains” approach to meeting times
One great alternative method is the Swiss Trains approach, which involves setting specific start and end meeting times so attendees retain focus. For example, starting a meeting at exactly 1:36PM and ending in at 1:57PM might pique your participants’ curiosity and attention, which will reportedly get them to be more engaged and prepared.
Our recommendation for the best time to meet is in the morning around 10:30 am
Not only are people freshest in the morning, but the fatigue and number of choices we make during the day increases, making it more difficult for us to make a better decision. Similar to taking exams, while having afternoon exams give the test-takers more time to prepare, studies have shown an overall decline ingrades in each hour after 9 o’clock. So between the balance of giving the attendees time to prepare versus the mental exhaustion of the workday, we would lean towards sacrificing the preparation time for better meeting results.
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