I recently changed a long-time habit. After a short conversation with a long-time coworker and friend, I switched my behavior from auto-accepting meetings to what a co-worker calls “no MAS,” or No Mindless Acceptance
Settings Syndrome. [Correction applied. My behavioral change is otherwise intact.]
Update: To give credit where it is due. My coworker informed me of the source for "No MAS" or No Mindless Acceptance Syndrome. Link Provided.... Highly recommended as a general training video. Or as a reminder for those who forget. Of for people like me who should know better by now. Aside from the video link and the strike-through, I am leaving this post as is.
Why change a comfortable process I had assumed was fine for years? Simply, while discussing upcoming meetings my colleague, I had to explain why auto-accepting meeting requests was better. I couldn’t.
My associate, however, could give good reasons why “no MAS” was better.
No Mindless Acceptance Settings – No MAS – means fewer missed meetings.
Here is my scenario. I work with people in multiple time-zones, mostly but not exclusively in North America. I work on the west coast, and a fair number of my contacts are on the east coast, a three-hour time difference between us.
This has an advantage where meetings get scheduled generally in the overlap of the work-day. There is some quiet time on the margins. My afternoons are relatively left unscheduled, and east-coast people have most mornings free of meetings.
The argument to end the ‘mindless acceptance settings’ is in the overlap time. To stay available for the eastern time-zones I start my day early. Even so, east-coasters start work before I wake up. If an urgent issue emerges which for me requires an early morning meeting, mindless acceptance leaves the team assuming I will join.
Without reviewing meeting notices, I don’t even know I have a commitment on my calendar. I risk missing important issues and waste time for my team.
I have no counter argument, no defense for my years-long work habit. I was wrong. I changed my habit and my calendar settings immediately. It still feels weird. I only made the change last week. It takes time for a change to feel comfortable. I have to mindfully manage meetings. No MAS.