One Step Further - Edition 04

How to overcome meeting burnout and escape this time-killer madness

Read time: 4 minutes

Last week was my son’s birthday, and we had a little dinosaur party for him to celebrate. 🦖🦕🎉

It was a great event, and I am beyond happy to have seen how he enjoyed every second of the reception.

After the cleanup, I found myself thinking about the speed of life. A couple of years ago, he was a baby crawling at home and now has friends he calls by the name.

I also remembered the advice I received from a senior executive mentor before I had children of my own: “After they are born, change your perspective on family. Enjoy every moment and be present. I made decisions prioritizing career thinking of providing a good life for my family, but what they needed most, and missed most, was me to be there for them.”

Thankfully, I see that clearly now. And this is one of the reasons I try to be productive in my life. It is not to save time to do more work at my job. It is to have more free time to enjoy moments like this.

I hope this newsletter can make you more productive and able to focus on what matters most to you, too.

With gratitude, 🙏🏼


Would like to sponsor this newsletter? Click here!

The step of the week 👣

Overcoming meeting burnout

According to an article published by Harvard Business Review (based on several studies conducted by different universities), an executive spends an average of nearly 23 hours weekly on meetings.

65% of people surveyed said that meetings kept them from completing work, and the vast majority, 71%, said meetings are unproductive and inefficient.

After COVID, we are even deeper into the meeting madness.

How to avoid being trapped?

When booking

  1. Be clear and crisp on the agenda;
  2. Provide context for people to become familiar with the subject and ready for discussion;
  3. Only invite people who must attend and have a say in the decision the team needs to make;
  4. Add a section called “Desired outcome” in the invite so attendees will know where they should land by the end of the meeting;
  5. Try to finish at least 5min earlier if possible, so you give some “breath” time for people on back-to-backs;

When invited

  1. If you are attending, you must know why;
  2. If the invite does not have an agenda or you don’t know the context, reach out in advance to clarify;
  3. Only forward the invite to people who really need to be there;
  4. Show up and be present: If you are there, use the time to engage and contribute.
  5. Multi-tasking is a red flag: if you are doing something else, you very likely don’t need to attend. Unless mandatory, drop and focus on your other tasks at hand.

This is the meeting template I use when sending meeting invites that is helping me to minimize meeting burnout. Feel free to adapt and use it.

a summary of what will be discussed;

  • bullet one
  • bullet two

any info or docs that participants must read before the meeting.

What do you want from the meeting: approval of something; define clear next steps and accountability, etc.

This section helps to avoid occurrences of a “meeting to discuss and plan for another meeting.”

Here is an actual example:

  • Quick overview of the Project Phoenix program
  • Scope
  • Responsibilities
  • Budget

See attached deck – Project Phoenix presentation.pptx

  • Approval of project charter.
  • Confirmation of project leader.
  • Budget approval
Person happy managing their calendar

My favourites for the week

🔥News – The largest digital toothbrush DDoS attack in history – which never happened

Several media outlets, including ZDNET and  Boing Boing, replicated a publication from a Swiss newspaper about a massive DDoS attack using three million smart toothbrushes. According to the media, the attack resulted in the loss of millions of Euros.

The original article mentioned the cybersecurity firm Fortinet as the researcher behind this discovery. 

Almost immediately, the security community started to challenge this scenario. I wrote about it on LinkedIn and found an interesting article from Bleeping Computer with additional considerations. 

Days later, Fortinet admitted that this was a hypothetical scenario and pointed to a “misunderstanding in translation” as the cause of the confusion.

TL;DR – don’t replicate news before validating; don’t believe in everything you read; keep brushing your teeth! 🪥

Toothbrush DDoS army

🎙️Podcast – Darknet Diaries – EP 142: Axact

This fantastic podcast by Jack Rhysider is a gem that covers true stories from the dark side of the internet. 

Topics vary about hackers, breaches, shadow government activity, hacktivism, cybercrime, and all the things that dwell on the hidden parts of the network.

Episode 142 is about a company that built an empire on global, online higher education. The only problem was that it was all fake diplomas and degrees.

🧑🏻‍🎨 Tool – Microsoft Designer

The Microsoft Designer is an excellent genAI tool for image and design creation.
I have been using it for a while to generate illustrations for this newsletter, and I like the results.

The best part for now: it is free.🤑

Quote of the week

Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.

Atomic Habits, By James Clear

Rediscovered using Readwise, my favourite my favorite app to revisit my highlights and remember what I read.