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No Meetings: Why I Choose Async Over Short Calls

Last updated Feb 14, 2024

Why don’t I do meetings or short calls?

I favor async text-based communication: I can do it on my terms and when I have time.

I am a technical author and must protect my writing time. Every time I say yes to a small thing, I say no to other things. Meetings, even short ones, add up quickly. It goes deep into one of my principles: Hell Yeah or No. So, either I go all in or not.

# I Choose Less

With today’s connectivity, choosing to be less reachable might seem counterintuitive. To me, it’s a deliberate strategy to ensure that I can produce the best work possible and maintain a healthy balance between my professional and personal life.

It’s a decision to prioritize depth over breadth, quality over quantity, and focus vertically, not horizontally.

I will continue sharing my thoughts, learnings, and experiences, hoping to add value to a broader audience on terms that respect yours and my time.

I might have heart feelings, but that’s how I can provide the most value to all of you and be respectful with time and my family.

As I’m sharing almost all my content and writing, I’m considering providing more value if I spend this time writing and sharing with all than spending in never-ending meetings that drain my energy. These meetings add up quite fast: a meeting here or there. (make an example of how meetings can add up and also disrupt flow and creative time).

# Why I Choose Async Communication

Async communication forces you to think force before you start a meeting, protecting Deep Work. Uninterrupted work with no meetings allows me to focus on the important and get things done on my schedule. It gives me the flexibility and autonomy which are essential for my well-being. Living in Switzerland and working across time zones means structuring my day to balance work, family time, and personal interests. Async communication supports this balance.

Asynchronous communication is efficient and inclusive, ensuring that discussions are well thought through, self-documented, and accessible to all team members, regardless of their work hours.

It minimizes additional communications and coordination as you don’t need to synchronize tasks, status, open discussions, etc.; everyone sees it in the same place. You get immediate feedback, and everyone can contribute. The feedback is specific to a task, idea, defect, etc., and where it belongs.

There is always a time when meetings are essential, but I would distinguish between meeting and productive working together. As productive one-on-one workshops to solve problems certainly increase productivity (a lot!), long status updates or unproductive discussions, which are not solution-driven, can go in the other direction.

Example of asynchronous communication: Power of written communication

In meetings, people are usually unprepared, and being insightful on the spot is very hard. The opposite happens with async. People might have read the questions/discussion points days ahead, slept over, and made some deep thoughts. With the practice of writing it down, they think one more time (very deep) and cut the unnecessary fluff. This means the quality is exceptionally high, something you wouldn’t achieve with a “quick meeting”. Also, there is no need to summarize, document, send it to all people, etc.; with a meeting, there is a lot of overhead, which async happens automatically.

As a side effect, written skills improve, which spread across the org in all tasks, as well as evident and concise thinking. It is a reinforcement that gets everyone better over time. Some might miss the social interactions of meetings; as an introvert, I get deeper connections and more meaningful discussions on written communication, as it’s less shallow and more genuine exchange. Also, meetings usually drain my energy much more. I’d rather spend quality time over lunch or breaks and casually brainstorm or discuss ideas if you work in the exact location.

# How to Work with Me

To ease working together, here’s how you can work with me async.

# Preferred Communication Channels

I enjoy task-based communication most, as well as discussion and decisions made directly on the to-do itself, in tools such as GitHub, Basecamp, Asana, and Google Docs.

Secondly. to quickly discuss something, use chats such as Slack or Teams. But this has similar disadvantages to a call or meeting; it’s so easy that we won’t deeply think about it first. But with the advantage that it forces us to write it down, rubber-ducking some of the answers ourselves.

Lastly, you can always email me; my e-mail is available. I read them all. I’m slow to reply, but if possible, I’ll reply.

# Personal Policies

I avoid meetings and calls unless necessary, preferring to communicate and collaborate asynchronously. While I love to discuss ideas and collaborate on projects, I’m less inclined towards casual conversations that are shallow or negative. I see sharing as a tool for growth, getting critical feedback, and connecting with like-minded people.

# Working Together

As shared already, my workflow is optimized for efficiency and minimal context switching, leveraging a systematics PKM workflow with tools like Second Brain, Zettelkasten, and GTD.

I enjoy authenticity and sharing openly. I value deep, meaningful conversations or connections that contribute to collective knowledge.

Learning daily is my #1 principle, and I strive for continuous learning. I welcome and appreciate feedback in any form that you’re comfortable providing.

# Who am I?

I like deep, honest, genuine conversations. I’m honest and faithful to my family and the people around me. I am calm. I respect every person as they are (try not to have stereotypes). I want to learn from older people. I love individuals (not parties or groups) and don’t like generalizations as a follow of it.

Most of my free time is devoted to my family. Besides nerdying out on my blog, my hobbies are walking in nature, race biking, and cross-country skiing. My favorite meal is Ramen 🍜 or traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue 🫕 —more about my past on Finding My Pathless Path.

Quotes I live by

“Live as you die tomorrow. Learn as you live forever” - Mahatma Gandhi.

# Before you go

Suppose you follow me or come here to get information on data engineering or ask me about other topics. Below are some pointers I found helpful.

Some Useful Links and Information:

People I learned from and recommend:

Books I recommend:

# Conclusion

Thanks for reading this far. I hope my writing made my preference for Async meetings more straightforward. Choosing async communication has significantly improved my focus, efficiency, and work-life balance. I hope my insights encourage you to explore how it might benefit you, too.

Thank you so much for your support and understanding. I wish you the best in your journey.

Origin: Steven Pressfield: Every Story Needs a Villain, CTO of Hubspot Dharmesh Shah doesn’t do meetings: Sorry. My heart says yes, but my schedule says no. and levelsio with Why I’m unreachable and maybe you should be too.
References: Why I’m unreachable and do not reply on Social, Hell Yeah or No, How to Work with Me, Email, and the way we (should) communicate at work
Created 2024-02-13