The truth behind time wasted in meetings

Meetings serve great purposes but the time wasted in meetings does not. Read on to find out how much time you wasted in meetings and what it means for you.

Posted by Abiha, Ameena on 05 Apr 2023
The truth behind time wasted in meetings

09:30 am - Marketing meeting

12:30 pm - Can you please join now????

03:30 pm - Review meeting

04:30 pm - New client meeting

Is that how your workday usually looks on any given day? Mmm, if it is, well.

Or, have you ever texted, “When will this meeting end?” to your office bestie and ended up sending it in the meeting chat? The entire team be like.

Now, this is something that most of us have done - celebrated when a meeting was cancelled because Google Meet or Zoom was down due to a glitch. And if it was a Monday, the timing just couldn’t have been better!

Oh, also, have you ever woken up and thought, what would the world look like if there were fewer meetings or umm, maybe ones with shorter duration? Too much to ask?

Hold up, let me show you the truth behind the time wasted in meetings.

Here’s the tea

Time is money. Even so, multiple surveys show how so many of us around the world decided to waste our time on meetings and how!

  • Every year, 24 billion hours are lost to unproductive meetings.
  • 55 million meetings happen daily.
  • On average, employees waste 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings.
  • 4 hours are wasted every week in planning and attending meetings.
  • An average employee spent one-third of their work week in virtual meetings in 2021.
  • On average, employees waste 10 minutes and 40 seconds on delays per meeting.
  • On average, an employee attends at least 8 meetings per week.


And buddy, the time lost to meetings is that much less time in a day for us to engage ourselves in productive work, costing us our valuable time.

But meetings mean we are doing something important!

Look, Jim, meetings are no doubt important. And not all are bad or disadvantageous.

But, not all meetings mean you are doing something important.

There are several irrelevant meetings you can find yourself stuck in.

For example, there may be meetings that involve a large number of people. Ask yourself, “Am I required to be here?” “Or, am I just a passive listener?”

There may be ones that may require you to be present but not involve you in the decision to be made after the meeting. Being present in an HR round for a hiring process is a good example. Ask yourself, “Should I be giving my time here when my opinions on the candidate are actually not going to be considered?”

And then there are meetings where the agenda totally disappears - the ones where attendees engage in blaming and accusing each other instead of finding a solution or identifying areas of improvement.

There can be many other such instances. And if you anticipate any of these, know that this meeting isn’t the one where you are going to be doing anything important.

But, you don’t want to be reeling in FOMO about what happened in the meeting? It’s okay, buddy.

Here, let me show you what such meetings can mean for you.

Rethinking and revision

Time wasted in meetings leave you with less time for productive work. The hurry to finish it on time may lead to reduced quality and redo of the work submitted. This ends up in you having to invest more time on the same task that could have been avoided if you didn’t attend that unnecessary meeting.

Inability to focus

Just as attending a meeting can disrupt your task at hand, anticipating one can make you not concentrate since you know you will be interrupted soon. This is how both attending and anticipating a meeting can disturb the focus required for completing your tasks, leading to frustration.

Burnout and exhaustion

There are many of us who would rather work overtime to gain perfection and borrow time from our personal lives than face disapproval for our work. This can lead to burnout and exhaustion in the long run. Would you still want to attend an irrelevant meeting or give your back some rest?

Lack of autonomy

When you are required to attend meetings that aren’t necessary for you to attend, you may sense a loss of control over your work. The inability to act on what is more important to you, i.e., finishing your work on time, can make you feel like your time is not valued and cause exasperation.

Reduced sense of value

The work that you do and the feedback you receive for your work affect your sense of value as an employee in the organization. The knowledge that you are making a positive impact on the business helps you stay motivated and vice versa. Attending unnecessary meetings can reduce your chances of producing quality work and ultimately lead to a reduced sense of value.

Hey Siri, how much time did I waste in meetings?

Gotcha! Time wasted in meetings gives you analytics on how much time you wasted on meetings. Simply, sign in using your email address with Google and the app will analyze all the calendar events from your Google calendar for the last 3 months. This gives you access to a number of cool deets.

Time wasted in meetings

Number of meetings attended

Here, you can see how many meetings I attended in the last 3 months - 42. Do the maths, that’s 14 meetings a month.

Total time spent on meetings

Next on the dashboard, you can see how much time I spent attending meetings these past 3 months. Almost half a day!

Average meeting duration

This shows you how much time on average I spent in a single meeting - 15 and a half minutes, it seems. Cool.

The average number of people interacted with in meetings

This number comes in handy to understand if I was a part of meetings where I was able to contribute significantly.

The one that was the longest

Another important indicator of if I have been attending unnecessary or productive meetings. I can find the meeting that took the most time and reconsider if I should be attending it again.

The most packed meeting

This number will lead me to the meeting that was the most crowded and force me to recall if I was able to participate effectively.

The minutes spent by date


An additional feature this app flexes is the graphical illustration that drums me about the number of minutes by the date that I spent on meetings.

How else could I have spent my time wasted in meetings?

Call me a simp all you want but I simply cannot get over this feature that this app provides. I’m sure you won’t either.

Alternate to meetings.png

It tells me what I could have accomplished in the half a day that I spent in meetings in the past 3 months. The alternatives seem too great to me to waste my time on yet another useless meeting!

Make your minutes count

Sup is a standup bot that lets you conduct asynchronous follow-ups on Slack and Microsoft Teams. The asynchronous and text-based features of these follow-ups reduce the time wasted in meetings significantly. cries in minutes

This is so because you are no more required to send responses to the sender of the message immediately. And if you forget, worry not, because the reminders will ensure that you do end up responding to the follow-ups.

So now, what are we waiting for? Another meme? Let’s get back to work!