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Science Says This Is the Best Time to Schedule Meetings

Topics: Data & Research
As a general rule, people really don’t like meetings. In fact, 17 percent of employees say they’d literally rather watch paint dry than attend one. Still, there are some rare folks who actually enjoy them, and most of us agree that some meetings seem to go more smoothly than others. But, why is that the case? It could be as simple as scheduling meetings at a better time and day of the week.

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  1. Monday morning is a common time to host a meeting, but is far from ideal.

A lot of companies schedule team meetings for Monday mornings, the logic being that this is a good time to get everyone on the same page on shared goals right at the beginning of the week. However, this timing isn’t great. Folks have a lot of energy on Monday mornings, and this can be a very productive time. If this is taken away, many workers will experience a rise in frustration, and a simultaneous decline in morale. Monday morning meetings might sound like a good idea, but they aren’t.

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  1. …not too early.

Relying on similar logic, some companies elect to schedule the bulk of their meetings for early in the day, thinking that it will allow teams to kick off new projects more easily. However, morning meetings aren’t a good idea. We prepare for them the day before, which can detach us from the topic at hand, or we don’t prepare at all. Also, some attendees may still be sleepy at this time, or might prefer to start the day attending to some important to-do items instead. When we start the day more independently, we’re able to offer more to groups later in the day.

Morning meetings aren't a good idea. We prepare for them the day before ... or we don't prepare at all.Click To Tweet
  1. …but not too late either.

The end of the day also isn’t the best time of day to schedule a meeting. A lot of people are run down by this point and may rush to get the meeting behind them rather than fully engage. There is logic behind the idea that one should not interview for a new position late in the afternoon for this very reason. The same goes for all other meetings. We get run-down as the day goes on, and we don’t make the best decisions during these times. Any meeting close to the end of the day will likely elicit less participation and active engagement than ones held a bit earlier.

  1. Science says we should shoot for Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m.

Recently, Quartz reported on a study done by YouCanBookMe, a company based in the U.K. that makes scheduling apps for businesses. After analyzing data from more than two million responses, they determined that 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday is the single best time to schedule a meeting. Not too early and not too late (in both the day and the week) mid-afternoon and mid-week meetings might just be the ideal time to meet.

Try keeping track of the meetings you attend over the course of the next couple weeks and see if you notice a difference in terms of productivity and engagement based upon time of day. It could help you understand a little bit more about how, and when, you do your best work.

Tell Us What You Think

What do you think is the best time for a meeting? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Troy
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Troy

The author of this “article” didn’t read the source material very carefully. She cites an article from Quartz as grounds for her claim that, “Science says we should shoot for Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m.” I just came here from the same Quartz article, and what it says is, “The firm crunched data from more than 2 million responses to 530,000 invitations and concluded that 2:30pm Tuesday is the time most people are free.” That’s not “the best time to schedule a meeting” for any reason other than that being the time “most people are free.” That’s not science. That’s just… Read more »

Sarath Chandran
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Sarath Chandran

I think Friday, 11 am is the best time. This is the best day for most employees, as the weekend is just round the corner, but most of the day is still to come, so they we won’t take it too lightly. During painful moments during the meeting, we can think of the coming weekend.

Christopher
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Christopher

The two days of the week when folks are most likely to be out are Mondays and Fridays. We had a standard Friday meeting that was scheduled just before lunch so that the team could roll right into that. It worked GREAT for those in attendance, but invariably, it seemed, someone (often multiple someones) was always out.

Christopher
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Christopher

I’d be interested to know if the same applied for standups. In agile development, there’s a daily 15 minute meeting that’s generally help first thing in the morning to set the day. We’ve had a few projects that held these later, and they always seemed to be more of a nuisance than the morning meetings.

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