Everybody hates meetings at work, or at least it seems that way. They go on way too long; nothing gets done at them. We could all be doing something more productive with our time.

What if you could make your work meetings quicker and more productive at the same time? That might really change the equation. Here are a few ways to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Plan Your Work Meetings As If They Are Critical (Which They Should Be)

Pick the three most important things you want to discuss, accomplish, or assign at the meeting. Make these three things your meeting agenda. At the end of the meeting make specific assignments based on these three items. When you send out minutes for the meeting, use the agenda as your outline. Keying your meeting to these three critical things intensifies the level of focus and channels appropriate energy to the tasks involved.

Create a Parking Lot for Off-Topic Ideas

We've all experienced team members who just can't stick to the topic. They're always trying to bring extraneous issues up for discussion. The ideas might be extremely valuable, coming from energetic and creative minds, they're just not right for this meeting. Best not to pretend these away. Capture them for action later in an "idea parking lot".

Shake It Out

You can shake up your work meetings without going the full "walking meeting" route. At a half hour into the meeting encourage everybody to get up and move around. Shaking it out as a group like this lightens things up a bit, which should intensify focus. Assign a timekeeper or set a visible timer to make it happen.

Try the Walking Meeting Craze That's Sweeping the Nation

In addition to being a drag on productivity, sitting around all day at the office has negative health effects. The American Heart Association recommends adults engage in "moderate-intensity physical activity" 30 minutes every workday.

Part of the answer to both issues might be converting one seated meeting a week to a walking one, even just up-and-down the hall or down to the lobby and back. A new study shows that just doing this gets workers ten minutes closer to their fitness goals each week.

Getting the blood flowing and the arms and legs moving makes you more productive. Because you're all walking around, too, your meeting will naturally be shorter. Everybody will want to get the walking meeting over with quickly by focusing only on critical issues that need to be dealt with now.

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