Meetless Monday - give yourself a day without meetings

English posts, Productivity


3 min read

Recently I've been writing less and less code because participating in many important meetings drained my time. So I have now decided of having a "Meetless Monday" (pun intended) and even marked it in my calendar blocking an entire day. I couldn't be happier. (well, that's a lie, but I'm getting there).

That's the TL;DR, and now here is some context to make sure you are not reading things that I didn't write.

Meetings are NOT inherently bad. If managed correctly, they can boost productiveness and build a stronger team. A sophisticated architecture cannot be created in a vacuum, and a hard engineering dilemma is not going to solve itself without sharing others. And with the right team they can actually be quite enjoyable, informative and skills improving, while helping create a complex system that is more sustainable and free of design flaws.

Short, concrete and to-the-point meetings with friendly and smart teammates are important, whether working remotely or in an office. Long, boring, useless meetings are indeed considered harmful, but I usually avoid participating in such in the first place.

Developer's productivity

That being said, even the best of meetings will annoy a good and striving developer if they come with no limits. A developer who enjoys writing code and doing actual stuff, not just discussing it, will eventually get frustrated. I know I feel much more satisfied after a successful coding sessions, rather than a round of discussions on architecture.

Hell, even at the many conferences I attend I spend most of my time coding (other than socialising and drinking beers - or Whiskey if Hadi is around, that is).

At a certain point in a developer's career there may come a time where they will find themselves in many meetings every week, because their role as tech-leads or their domain knowledge - or both - requires it. That developer will prefer leading and teaching and helping others because that's what good and experienced programmers do, with the understanding that they will be writing significantly less code and doing much less techie stuff.

Everything in life is about balance. You shouldn't avoid those meetings completely, but you have to allow yourself those cheerful days of sheer joyful coding. And with real programming, 2+2 != 4; you can't really compare the effectiveness of 4 straight hours of coding to two chunks of 2 hours.

This is why I always mark Mondays in my calendar as "Meetless Monday", blocking the entire day, and never accept a meeting set to this day. This makes me a happier developer, while still allowing me to support the company and my teammates, and participate in design meetings and all of that.

And you may want to do that too.

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