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How to Decline a Meeting to Get Shit Done

How to Decline a Meeting to Get Shit Done

So excited that Samantha Heapps is back on the blog today. If you have yet to meet Sam, check out her post on how to best utilize Linkedin. She also came on to talk about how to write a badass resume and tips for nailing a job interview.

To give you a recap, Sam used to be the Marketing Director for Woo. She now works for Vayner Media where she’s obviously crushing it. She’s smart as a whip, creative, sweet & kind, so professional, has the best work ethic, is self-aware & overall just a fab person.

She’s back today to talk about how MAKING is better than MEETINGS. We’ve all seen the memes since the pandemic about how a one hour meeting could be a 1 minute email. We probably all agree the meeting, Zoom situation has gotten a little out of hand.

In this post you’ll learn Sam’s 5 tips (& reasons) you should limit meeting time so you can regain your precious time to CREATE.

Let’s welcome Sam back the blog.

How to Decline a Meeting to Get Shit Done


Hey TSC! Sam here, back on the blog to discuss one of the hottest topics right now from my perspective as the Manager of Core Relationships at VaynerMedia:


Read that 2 times. Whether you are in a creative industry like me, or work in finance, fashion, at an elementary school, you fucking name it – there is a time-management epidemic across the board. Our CEO @garyvee is such an amazing leader, and super adamant about instilling the values of creating, producing and leaving a positive impact above all else.

For example, take a second to think about your average work day – and with work-from-home culture on the rise (and according to the latest research, here to stay in some regard) it’s as if we can’t escape meetings if we tried. *Not that we’ve had “poor connection” before, or anything LOL.

Here’s the skinny: Gone are the days of 2020 pandemic freshness when Zoom meetings, Zoom happy hours and dare we say Zoom weddings were kind of kitschy and fun. Today, every meeting that you attend where it’s not absolutely CRUCIAL you are there, you are missing an opportunity to create, make, imagine and essentially carry out your true purpose and passion – whatever that may mean for you.

Remember – time is the only currency that we can’t get back.

Studies show that meeting-overload leads to LESS productivity and MORE burnout. Not exactly the ratio we’re going for here, babes.

On a recent episode of On Purpose, Jay Shetty shared that we spend a majority of our day trying to get BACK into focus due to daily distractions – meetings & emails included.

It takes 23 minutes to get back on track after being distracted or pulled into a different task (a.k.a a virtual meeting where you’re not even sure the attendees know who you are!!).

Blue light radiated from screens can lead to blurry vision, eye strain – you know, that  **laptop closed, finally looking at a tree ** state where your body is like, AH, this feels nice! Oh, not to mention it fucks with your sleep – leading to low creativity the next day, too. Don’t forget, your ~ beauty sleep ~ also applies to your beautiful brain 😉

Now, you can either let these facts scare you into staying mainstream and going with the motions of modern day work culture, OR be your own advocate and follow my GOLDEN TIPS for making > meetings, below.

Samantha Heapps Samantha Heapps work tips

(trust me, your boss will thank you for it.)

♡ Fuck 15 minute, 30 minute, and * gasp * 60 minute meetings.

Chervin Jafarieh talked on TSC HIM & HER podcast about how it’s wild to think we live on a Gregorian calendar, which is our 12 month, 7 day per week system that we as humans follow along because we just…do.

Same sentiment goes for meeting time slots… like, WHY? We have been conditioned to schedule meetings in perfectly-square numbers because our popular calendar system (sorry to call you out, Google) makes it convenient to do so.

BE THE BOSS that you are, and manually flick that meeting timer to 7 minutes, 12 minutes, hey! 23 minutes might be just enough time to jam through what you’re working on. Try it for yourself. As ‘work from home’ lingo goes, always “glad to give someone an extra 4 seconds back!”

♡ Our attention span is at its peak during 25 minute and 55 minute increments.

This isn’t a ME thing, this is a human biology thing. Why work against our scientific make-up, when we can leverage these truths to our optimal creative advantage?

Schedule your ‘MAKING’ time in these windows, and take a 5-minute break. Not on TikTok – but break by distracting yourself with a habit in the same genre. I.E. if you’re doing research/reading, take a break by researching or reading something ELSE – same action, different task. Working on a pitch deck? Take a break by designing something else, on your computer or by hand. Make your WORK, work best for you.

♡ Accept this forbidden truth: not all ‘meetings’ need to be a ‘meeting.’

Can your 30 minute weekly check-in be an email recap on Friday afternoon? Can your daily team touch-base after every deck is finished, be a simple working file with comments & questions added in for visibility? Or, better yet – can a call where you have to ask/ answer a question, be a text or voicenote?

We live in a world where tech, convenience and efficiency are at our fingertips. It’s time to take those skills outside of Uber Eats, and into Google Cal – ya know what I mean?

♡ Drop your ego at the (virtual) door, and take yourself out of situations where you don’t need to be there.

Funny enough, it’s actually common these days to have office FOMO – where if we’re not invited to every meeting with every leader, co-worker BFF, or subject matter that interests us, we take offense.

It’s easy to get lost in the thought that we weren’t invited to something as a reflection of our work, or us as an employee – but in reality, if you weren’t on the cal invite, it’s because your manager/team wanted to give you TIME and SPACE to do what you do best… YOUR JOB!!!

Who gives a fuck if you’re not at every Google Hangout link. Be the best at what YOU do. And you will end the day with more satisfaction in your role, a healthier mental state, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some praise from your peers sprinkled in there too.

So, there you have it, creative queens – MAKE over MEET. Trust yourself and your instincts, and follow through on the meetings where you can provide value (and really knock that shit out of the park!) and then have the humility, confidence and boundaries to pull yourself out of the ‘work from home’-whirlpool and get back to business. Something tells me your wildest dreams are right on the other side of camera off & mute. Let’s chase them!

xx, Sam


Hope you all loved this post & feel inspired to cancel some unnecessary Zooms you have coming up. LOL. Be sure to follow Sam on IG @samantha_nik.

x, lauryn

+ learn how batching tasks cuts down on refocusing time. 

++ stalk Angie Lee’s post on her keys to success.


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