Here's to fewer meetings and emails and getting more work done

40 Better Hours is a Poynter project dedicated to improving your workweek. This is the second day of the weeklong series.

A lot of journalists come through Poynter’s doors, and we enjoy hearing their ideas (and, let’s face it, gripes) about how to improve work. More often than not, two big complaints come up in those conversations: poorly run meetings and endless amounts of email.

We tackled those complaints in today’s video. Katie Hawkins-Gaar, Poynter's digital innovation faculty member, identified a number of tips and tactics for running better meetings and addressing your overflowing inbox.

Hawkins-Gaar’s biggest tip for employees — at any level of an organization — is to speak up if they’re frustrated with things like meetings and emails. By offering up some concrete suggestions on how to restructure meetings or cut down on emails, there’s a good chance those conversations will lead to positive changes.

If you're interested in learning more about this topic, we've rounded up some additional resources:

  • Make scheduling easier: No one likes the back-and-forth of trying to schedule a meeting. Doodle is a great tool for coordinating a group of people, and Calendly is a streamlined way to let others know when you're available to meet.
  • Read this. Then read it again: What Sending After-Hours Emails Does To Your Productivity.
  • Don't be that guy: Research shows that men tend to dominate conversations in meetings. Wonder if that's the case in your office? This cheeky clock will help you keep track.
  • Related Poynter training: If you're debating whether to introduce messaging service Slack into your office, check out this Webinar — Internal Communication Without Email: Slack for Newsrooms.
  • Brainstorm better: IDEO General Manager Tom Kelley's book "The Art of Innovation" is full of great advice on how to run effective and creative brainstorm sessions.

In today's newsletter, we asked for your tried-and-true advice on how to run better meetings or curb the time and mental energy spent on email.

Share your best advice on Twitter or Instagram with #40BetterHours, or email us at We’ll share some of the best responses in tomorrow’s newsletter.

And don't forget to join Hawkins-Gaar in a Facebook Q&A at 1 p.m. Eastern. See you then!

40 Better Hours is Poynter's first crowdfunded project. It was made possible by the generous support of Ruth Ann Harnisch and dozens of other supporters.

Correction: In the headline, "less meetings" has been corrected to "fewer meetings." We apologize for the error.

  • Profile picture for user Team40BetterHours

    Team 40 Better Hours

    Poynter coworkers Katie Hawkins-Gaar and Ren LaForme combined efforts to launch 40 Better Hours, a project to improve newsroom culture in small but meaningful ways.


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