Meeting time should be restricted to no more than 4 hours a day.
Since venturing out on my own, people often ask, "how's it going?" It's going great-- thank you! Then, I can't help but add... one of most smack-my-head realizations early on was just how much time I was spending every day in (mostly) internal meetings. I know a lot of you are like, no duuuu--hhhhh.
While I knew this before, I didn't fully appreciate the impact on my energy-- this could be expanded to include my inability to really prioritize, be creative, and get client work done. But, "energy" just kinds of sums it up. In fairness, my role had taken on an increasingly internal tilt in recent years. It's funny because, like the physical world, once you're off your axis, the tendency is to continue to spin out of control. It gets harder and harder to self-correct. So, while I was middle management, I'd say it only gets worse as you move up.
Here in lies the greatest opportunity for consulting firms to get a higher-impact return on their HUGE people investment. That is, encourage people (then reinforce with sanctions, as needed) to restrict their meeting time to no more than 4 hours a day. To take that a step further, those 4 hours should occur in a single block of time. The continuous ding of Outlook reminders crushes momentum and squashes any hope of being able to think on an idea for more than 15 minutes at a time.
For me, this aha moment on personal time control--- not just time management-- has been profound. If nothing else came of this life change (which is easy to say because already so much else has) than that realization alone would make it worth it.
Get busy cancelling meetings!