I am in a lot of meetings. A LOT of meetings. Double, triple, quad booked. I guess when you get to manager or director level somewhere, that is the definition of “busy”, or maybe everyone just wants you in their meeting, or your opinion, or whatever. In the end “Meetings are Toxic” (from 37signals), but really the are sometimes a necessary evil.
Anyways, do you really know where you spend all your time? Well you can glean the information pretty easily using Excel and Microsoft Power BI (Power Query specifically).
First, the key for me is to “categorize” my meetings. You can create categories in Outlook and then assign them to meetings, you can even color code the categories.
Where does Power Query fit in? Well, you can connect to Exchange as a data source.
Then you can query your calendar “table”, and pull it into Excel.
Then, as with any table, you can Pivot it, and pull over category as the row, and look at the count. With some column work in the Power Query query, you can split out the date/time and get Month/Day/Year and create a semi-hierarchy, to see things over time.
For example, I took over 2 teams in January, and my meetings with them and related projects skyrocketed in January. Now I know what was taking my time up for Q1 2014 :)
There is so much more you can do with Power BI and Exchange data, your email, calendars, contacts, etc, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and it should only take you 10 minutes or so to get to this result! Now, if I can just figure out how to get out of the meetings!