We’ve all been there: Horrendous, soul-sucking meetings that take the wind out of your sails, and your entire day.

“When will this be over?”

“Please. Just. Make. It. Stop.”

*Silently screams on the inside.*

Meetings that lack purpose and direction meetings kill your productivity and creativity. Here are three ways to avoid that. I’m not going to waste your time by telling you to have an agenda and focus your goals, because that’s a #basic given.

Instead, here are three ElizHacks that will help you have more tolerable meetings.

1. Give the team your full, uninterrupted attention.

You may consider yourself a power multi-tasker, but mounting research shows that you aren’t as good as you think you are, boo.

Meetings go a lot faster when everyone gives their quality focus and time.

This means no texting.
This means no emails.
This means no secret chatting with your co-workers on Slack.

This goes for people on the executive level as much (if not more so) as those who are on staff level. Yes, we know you’re a super busy, important person, but your team looks to you to set a good example. It’s not only discourteous to give “half attention” — it’s damaging to morale.

If you don’t bother to listen to them, then why should they listen to you?

Here’s a script:

If you notice a key player (or a group) who’s obviously checked out, stop the meeting and say, “You seem distracted. I know you have a lot on your plate. Is there a better time we can meet to discuss this? This is important, and I’d like to wait until I have your full attention.” If this seems too confrontational, then consider privately Skyping or Slacking them instead.

2. Set an alarm for a half-way point

Create expectations for a timely meeting at the beginning of the meeting.

If your meeting is an hour, then set an alarm for 30 minutes in. This way, everyone will be cognizant of the time that has passed, and how much time you have left. Check in to see if you’re on track according to the agenda.

Here’s a script:

“I know everyone’s time is precious, so I am going to set an alarm now so we know when we reach a half-way point. That way, we can make sure we are on track, and can discuss everything we need to make this project a success.”

3. If the meeting is lingering, get up and walk away.

A lot of people would tell you this is rude, but then again, so is wasting your time.

Some people just really like hearing themselves talk. These people are time vampires, and they are sucking the life out of your productivity.

We’ve all been in that awkward meeting that needs. to. end. If you’re running the meeting, take control. Don’t let one wayward sailor who loves a good tangent sink the entire ship. (Even if that person is your boss.)

If the meeting has lasted over an hour, and it’s not an all-day team event, it’s time to put that meeting out of its misery.

Here’s a script:

Please excuse me for interrupting, but the team and I have a meeting at x time that we need to prepare for. Is it possible to continue this conversation later?

If they don’t “hear” you, get up and walk away. Sometimes actions just speak louder than words.

Trust me, your team will thank you for delivering them from an unproductive meetings that drag out.