Best Time to Hold Meetings for Better Productivity

Timing is everything, and so is the time of day you schedule meetings for. Find out what science has to say about the best time to hold a meeting.

There’s only so much time in a day.

Especially a workday. It can sometimes feel like we sit down at our desk and poof, the day is practically over. This is even more true when you have a day full of meetings. You want your workday to be as efficient as possible, and with that, the meetings on your calendar should be effective, too.

To ensure your meetings are set up for success right from the start, consider the best time to hold a meeting with your team to ensure maximum productivity.  

What is the best time of the day for meetings?

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer to this, so we’ll start with it depends on the type of meeting your team is holding.

However, if you’re looking for a general chunk of time, our research suggests that the tried and true best time to schedule a meeting is mid-morning, between 10 am – 12 pm

This is true for everyone regardless of role, industry, or location. 

There are some things to consider here, as it may depend on the individual and their role. For instance, I find that I am most productive between 10 am and 2 pm, meaning I prefer meetings outside of this window of time.

Delightful meetings at any time

Regardless of when your meeting is, ensure it is a productive one by having a collaborative meeting agenda and clear next steps with a tool like Fellow.

Best time for meetings according to science

Yes, science is at play here and should be considered before clicking Send on that meeting invite. 

First and foremost, steer clear of the worst time: Monday mornings. Employees are often feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after the weekend and exude a high level of productivity. Because of this, let your team use this time to be as productive as possible. Additionally, you may find that employees are likely to take advantage of PTO or vacation time on Mondays. The same can be said for Fridays.

So, the best time to schedule meetings if you want high attendance is 2:30 pm on Tuesdays, according to a study conducted by YouCanBookMe. It’s not too early or too late in the day or the week and tends to be the sweet spot for the best meetings.

 If this time doesn’t work for you, consider the 10 am – 12 pm time slot, which is best for decision-making. Mid-afternoon and mid-week tend to be the most ideal.

Different times of the day for meetings 

Timing is everything, and so is the time of day you schedule meetings for. If your team takes part in the average work day, meaning logging on at 9 am and calling it a day around 5 pm, here’s how you can schedule your meetings throughout the day.

1Early morning

These meetings are held between 9 and 10 am and are ideal for when all attendees are looking to get their meetings off their plate as soon as possible. These are best kept short, roughly 15 minutes, usually because some attendees may still be struggling to feel awake and productive. It’s important that all preparation is done for early morning meetings the day before.

2Mid-morning

A mid-morning meeting takes place between 10 and 11 am, which tends to be more effective because your team has had the chance to sip on some coffee, clear out their emails, and aren’t feeling the stress from too many tasks just yet. 

3Lunchtime

Ready for a meal break? A lunchtime meeting is around noon and attendees are encouraged to enjoy their meal during the meeting. Consider taking advantage of the fact that these should start with a fun icebreaker where people share if they’re enjoying anything particularly exciting or delicious over lunch. 

4Afternoon

Thinking of scheduling an afternoon meeting? Take a beat and give your team some time to perk back up, as they can sometimes feel tired or sluggish right after eating. Consider waiting until 2:30 – 3 pm to gather the team for a meaningful conversation. 

5Late afternoon/evening

In an end-of-day meeting, it’s common for attendees to feel anxious and watch the clock tick until it’s time for them to call it a day and log off. Steer clear of this time slot unless it’s the only time available or something is urgent.

Questions to ask before setting a meeting 

As you go about creating a meeting agenda and assigning roles to attendees, there are some questions you can ask before setting a meeting and finding the best available time for everyone. After you ask yourself questions like “Is it Monday or Friday?” and “have I done enough to prepare?” Here are some other must-ask questions.

1 Is a meeting necessary?

No one likes a meeting that feels like it could have been an email or a Slack message. So, ask yourself if the meeting is necessary to hold in the first place. If you feel like it can be an email or a direct message, go with that first. You may also find the information you’re looking to share or discuss can be weaved into another meeting your team is having — allowing you to kill two birds with one, well, meeting.

2 What is the purpose of the meeting?

Once you’ve established that, yes, the meeting is necessary, it’s time to define its purpose. Some meetings are informational, where there’s an announcement or the team needs to hear new information about certain subject matter. There are also meetings where the purpose is to decide on specific action items and brainstorming meetings to solve the team’s bottleneck. 

Understanding the purpose, or the end goal will help you determine when is best for it to be scheduled.

3 Who needs to be in attendance?

Meetings can take up a lot of someone’s day, so be sure to only invite who has to be there. Think back on the last time you felt a meeting was totally irrelevant to your role or your goals — that’s what you’re looking to avoid here.

When you go through the list of potential attendees, ask yourself whether or not they will contribute to the meeting’s objective in a meaningful way. If yes, invite them. If not, consider simply sending them the meeting minutes after the fact.

4 How long does this meeting need to be?

After the purpose is decided upon and the attendee list is squared away you can better determine how long a meeting should be. Meetings that are a sync between a few team members, or a one-on-one, should be on the shorter side. The same goes for early morning meetings — keep them short and simple.

If it’s a company all-hands or a major board meeting, you’ll likely need an hour — at least. Be firm about a meeting’s end time no matter what you decide here. Some attendees may have another one right after, so never hold your attendees hostage.

5 What else is scheduled close to the meeting time?

No one likes a full day of meetings with very few breaks, so consider how packed someone’s schedule is when you pick a time and day that works. Or, if you notice someone has a time slot listed like “doctor’s appointment” until 2:00 pm, don’t throw a meeting on their calendar for 2:15 pm. If you do, this attendee will only feel rushed and worried they won’t make it back to work on time for this meeting.

Make the most of your meeting time

For those who think that the time of the meeting doesn’t matter — think again.

Of course, not every meeting can be scheduled on a Tuesday at 2:30 pm, but do your best to keep all elements in mind before you pick a date and time for your next meeting. And don’t forget to use Fellow to ensure all meeting details are kept organized and in one easy-to-use location!


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About the author

Mara Calvello

Mara Calvello is a freelance writer for Fellow, in addition to being a Content Marketing Manager at G2. In her spare time, she’s either at the gym, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue dog Zeke, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable.

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