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Meetings can be important.

They can also be wastes of time.

Most leaders know these things to be true. Looking at your own calendar right now, you’ll probably see a lot of time blocked off for meetings. Some of those meetings will be essential—truly productive. Others will be total wastes of time—or, at the very least, they’ll be things you could really handle just fine without a meeting, and save the hassle.

So why do we do it? Why do we load up our schedules with meetings when we know good and well that not all of them are going to be impactful—that in fact, very few of them may turn out to be impactful?

Well, here’s a secret: Not everyone does allow their calendar to get blocked out with meetings. In fact, I think great leaders know how to keep meetings to a healthy minimum.

But how can you ease up on the meetings in your life? Here are some quick rules of thumb.

How to Say No to Unnecessary Meetings

Schedule a Power Hour

Before you block off any meetings, block off an hour of time in the morning for you to focus intensely on an urgent project—putting all of your effort, during that one hour’s time, into getting things accomplished. This is a great way to jumpstart your day, and to ensure that you’re productive even if you end up getting pulled into meetings later in the day.

Have One Meeting-Free Day Each Week

Devote Fridays to being on the floor, working with your team, or interacting with customers—and refuse to schedule any meetings during this time. Having a clean break from meetings, and a full day of protected time, can really be invaluable, and also help you be more rigorous about the meetings you do and do not accept during the rest of the week.

Don’t Accept Any Meetings Without Clear Agendas

“I’m sorry, I can’t commit to the meeting without seeing an agenda up front.” That’s a simple enough phrase, and it will get you out of many meetings that could otherwise turn out to be time sucks.

Always Ask for Shorter Meetings

This may not work for everyone, but I’ve met some executives who always counter meeting invitations with a request that they be shorter. So, if someone invites you to an hour-long meeting, respond that you can only give them 45 minutes—and then stick to it! After 45 minutes, politely excuse yourself, saying you have another commitment.

These are just a few strategies you might try to redeem some of your meeting time.