William Liao

August 20, 2021

You don't have to fill the space

Don’t have anything to say? Don’t say anything. 

Don’t have enough content to fill the full duration of the meeting? Adjourn early. 

A more controversial one: had an intense day and burnt out by 4PM? You’re better off leaving — it’s unlikely that the next hour is going to yield anything fruitful. 

The reason we feel obligated to fill space is a conflation problem:

Saying words isn’t the same as meaningfully contributing. 

Longer meetings are not better meetings. 

“A full day’s work” isn’t 8 hours — it’s the 3–4 intense hours of unrelenting focus you were able to give.

Filling the space is the wrong metric, it’s taking meaningful action in whatever form makes the most sense.