Where does the day go? This is likely something you’ve found yourself wondering, especially if there are hot projects in need of completion on your plate.

Sometimes, the day has gone to lots and lots of meetings.

Chances are, you’ve stared down a densely packed Outlook calendar, coming down with a case of the Mondays before you’ve even poured a cup of coffee. But what if we could solve that problem? According to Patrick Allan on LifeHacker, meetings should only be 15 minutes long.

When I first read this article, I was on vacation, and admittedly I skimmed it. I thought, “Yeah right, whatever.” In my own mind, I was thinking that 20-30 minutes was the ideal meeting length.

Then I came back from vacation. And then my days starting filling with meetings, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes. Before I knew it my day was gone—nothing new to any of us. And I remembered reading Allan’s article on LifeHacker.

So, I started observing. Here’s what I found:

  • Bloated meetings can become so if participants haven’t digested the right background info.
  • Late arrivals don’t help—either the start time is postponed, or time is wasted catching the tardy person up once they do arrive.
  • Did the Indians win last night? Hopefully yes, but what does that have to do with this project?

Don’t get me wrong: we’re all guilty of this, right? You’ve got this great story about your kid. Or your last meeting ran over or you stayed up to watch the 11th inning. (I know I’ve committed all of these—possibly in the same meeting!)

So what’s my point in all of this? My point is that, yes, 15 minutes might be all the time I need to digest the most important information…but I’ll gladly spend a few extra minutes on occasion to catch up with my co-workers. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t know that Kasey found out she’s having a boy; or that Mike’s got a big birthday coming up; or that Meredith is running a marathon in a few months; or that, yes, the Tribe did win!

So, I’ll take a bit of extra meeting time. I like having co-workers who aren’t simply people I work with, but friends. It’s definitely possible to stay on task (coming prepared, and on time) while making a bit of time for keeping up with each other’s personal lives.

Holly Schafer is Senior Art Director at AKHIA