Avoiding Death by Meetings

Caneel Joyce
4 min readSep 12, 2023

Do you dread opening up Google Calendar? Not because you don’t know what you’ll see, but because you do? Meetings. One after the other. All freakin’ day long.

Whether you take meetings in person or via Zoom, a stacked day of meetings can be a total slog.

Let’s face it, we’ve all had days where our calendars are jam-packed with back-to-back meetings that make us feel like we’re slowly dying a slow and painful death. And what’s worse? You walk out of the last meeting of the day feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing but numbness in your butt and a headache from staring at your computer screen for too long. (Sidenote: blue light glasses will change your life. Add to cart, ASAP.)

This is what I like to call “Death by Meetings,” and it’s a real thing, my friends.

But what if I told you meetings don’t have to be this way? They can actually be energizing, life-giving, and full of creativity? Yes, it’s true. And no, I haven’t lost my mind (yet). They really can be.

Here are a few ways to avoid death by meetings on your tombstone:

Trim the fat

Okay, let’s get real. Of all the meetings on your calendar, how many do you really need?

Here are some thoughts that might be keeping you in meetings unnecessarily:

Everyone else will be there so I need to be too

I need to make sure everyone’s on task

I should weigh in on that
We’ve always had the Wednesday meeting

I’ll look checked out if I’m not in that meeting

It’s only an hour long so I might as well join

None of those thoughts are objectively true or factual, which means they’re stories. With story thoughts, we want to acknowledge that the opposite of your story is just as likely to be true.

For example, the opposite of everyone else will be there so I need to be too might be because everyone else will be there, I don’t need to be.

Question the stories keeping you in meetings that you can probably scrub off your calendar.

You might be getting a little frustrated reading this and thinking ‘Caneel, I can’t just delete meetings off my calendar because I don’t think I need to be a part of them. People will wonder who the heck I think I am…’

Ah, yes — the fear of being judged. But here’s the thing — most of the time, the stories we tell ourselves about why we need to be in certain meetings aren’t actually true. So question those stories.

Is it a story or a fact?

Have you tried to advocate for something else before? Have you attempted to renegotiate?

Is it really essential for you to be in that meeting? Can someone else take your place? Don’t let fear or stories hold you back from taking control of your own schedule.

Renegotiate Meetings To Your Preference

These are some questions I want you to consider the answers to:

How many of your meetings need to be in-person?

Is showing your face essential to your Zoom meetings?

How many meetings require you to be in a chair?

Can the meeting be shorter?

Most meetings are adaptable to suit your needs and could benefit from minor adjustments!

You can join your Zoom meetings via phone and walk around your neighborhood instead of feeling bound to a chair.

Maybe the weekly team meeting doesn’t need to be two hours, or could benefit from a break halfway through.

If you’re dreading being on camera during your next Zoom, I want you to consider you can be audio-only.

Things are more flexible than you may realize because you’ve been too hesitant to test the waters.

How are you betraying the wisdom of your own mind, body, and gut by ignoring your wants and needs?

When was the last time you tuned into your Whole Body Yes?

Each time you ignore the wisdom of your head, heart, and gut you create more friction in your life. You place more obstacles in your path preventing you from having a life of ease, flow, and enjoyment.

Don’t let fear, shame, or guilt keep you from advocating for yourself, because each time you bite your tongue you create more ease for others at the cost of your own.

So the next time you open up your Google calendar and feel a sense of dread wash over you, remember you have the power to change the narrative. Don’t let death by meetings be your legacy. Take control of your time and make your meetings work for you, not the other way around. Your brain (and your behind) will thank you.



Caneel Joyce

Transformational executive coach to founders & CEOs of fast-growth companies. Mom, wife, speaker, former professor & startupper. Caneel.com, The Allowed Podcast