Deep Work Wednesday (DWW) was previously named No Meeting Wednesdays (NMW).

At MOSTLY AI we aim to get things done and be productive throughout our workdays. A common concern we have heard in the past was that there were just “too many meetings” that were distracting from the “actual work”.

Being overloaded with meetings is something that happens frequently in organizations and especially in larger organizations this can become a real issue. While the situation is definitely not that bad at MOSTLY AI we have decided to introduce the concept of “Deep Work Wednesday” to allow us all to get some high quality work time back.

The company who made the concept initially popular is Asana. Back in 2013 they wrote a pretty good blog post about their approach to No Meeting Wednesdays. It’s a highly recommended read and can be found here.

Funny enough, they write in their blogpost about “now being more than 100 employees”. As of this writing, almost ten years later, Asana has more than 2,400 employees and they are still big believers in their No Meeting Wednesday. A recent interview from the end of 2021 highlights some of the reasons why.

Deep Work Wednesday at MOSTLY AI means the following

  • There absolutely should not be any recurring internal meetings on Wednesdays scheduled

  • There should not be internal meetings on Wednesdays scheduled - except something urgent comes up that cannot be discussed via Slack, or you explicitly want to use this quality work time for collaboration (e.g. pair programming)

  • There should not be external meetings scheduled if possible - if unavoidable (e.g. a client meeting, an interview with a candidate) these meetings can take place of course

  • Let’s also aim for minimizing communication via Slack and email - the goal is to allow us all to have distraction free, high quality work time on Wednesdays. If possible wait with a message until Thursday.

Good reminders regarding meetings in general

We also want to use the introduction of DWW to highlight some of the best practices when it comes to meetings.

  • To meet or not meet: That’s the first and really important question - do you actually need to have this meeting? Would it be possible instead to get what you need via Slack messages or a quick personal call?

  • Participants: Think about who actually needs to be part of that meeting. When receiving an invite also just don’t blindly accept, but reflect whether you need to be part of that meeting. Reach out to the meeting organizer if you feel like you want to discuss your attendance. Also - it’s ok to drop out of a meeting if you realize that you actually don’t need to be part of the meeting.

  • Agenda: Every meeting invitation should come with an agenda. This makes it clear what will be discussed during the meeting.

  • Goals / Non-Goals: If it’s not clear from the invite, make clear at the beginning what the actual goal for the meeting is. Is there a decision that needs to be taken? Are there tasks that need to be assigned? Are there questions that need to be answered? To avoid that a meeting is “hijacked” it’s also sometimes important to define what are non-goals - things that you actually do not want to discuss during the meeting time.

  • Pre-Readings: Aim to send out relevant documents before the meeting so that everyone can come to the meeting prepared and ready to engage in a meaningful discussion instead of spending the initial time of the meeting bringing everyone “up to speed”.

  • Time and Duration: Meetings start on time and end on time. Everyone is responsible for that. Also think about the duration of a meeting. Sometimes people just “per default” send out 1hr invites. Plan ahead how much time you think is necessary to cover the agenda. Are 15min enough? Or maybe 30min? It’s also ok, to send out an invite for 90min if the agenda demands that.

  • Feedback to meeting invites: It’s not only polite but really necessary for you to either accept or decline an invite that you receive. The meeting organizer otherwise has no idea if you will participate or not. And it’s really annoying when the first couple of a meetings are wasted trying to figure out if someone will attend or not.

  • Documentation: There is no way to remember all the details from all the meetings that you participate in over the course of time. It’s therefore important that someone feels responsible for documenting the most important points during a meeting and storing these in the proper place (typically Leapsome, Confluence, Slack or Hubspot).

  • Defined actions / next steps: While not necessary every time, most meetings will end with defined actions and agreed next steps. As the meeting organizer it’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone leaves a meeting with the knowledge about what will happen next.

Initial trial phase

We will implement DWW immediately and as of now until the end of July. This will give us two months to see how this approach works for us and at the end of July we will assess whether we want to keep, modify or stop NMW.

Roll out

In the beginning of August 2022 we ran a survey on Leapsome to evaluate the impacts of No meetings Wednesdays that had been running for 2 months.

Following the positive feedback, we are continuing with the initiative.

A summary of the results of the survey can be found here: