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I’m hooked on the new series “Street Justice: The Bronx.” In one of the episodes, Detective Ralph Friedman jokes, “I don’t like meetings! I never caught a perpetrator in a meeting!”

OK, you may not be trying to catch a criminal, but let’s be honest – you have better things to do this Fall than sit in meetings. How do you turn those boring get-togethers into an effective use of time? Bust the meeting derailers!

Here are 5 ideas to get you in the solution, whether you’re the CEO of your family or running your own business:

  1. Work toward the what: “What are we coming up with today?” is the critical question when you schedule the meeting. Most projects are done over time, not all at once. Before you dive into the details, take a minute or two to define what you’re creating that day.
  2. Hit pause: Yes to staying open to great ideas. But track those ideas and put them on hold if they don’t answer your “What are we coming up with today?” question. Revisiting that information later will ensure you meet your goal and stay on time.
  3. No cell zone: Did you groan when you read “no cell zone”? Think of it this way: you can get twice the work done in half the time when everyone isn’t swiping their phone. Maria Shriver has her kids park their phones in the middle of the restaurant table. The first one reaching for their mobile pays the bill. Ouch!
  4. Everyone has an action: Do you want to increase engagement? Make sure everyone leaves the meeting with an action item. No sitting on the sidelines allowed.
  5. Wrap it up: Have a goal of quitting at least 5 minutes early. You may not make it, but this will give you a cushion for additional discussion, travel time, etc. If you’re really courageous, schedule a no meeting day. (Some teams use Friday only for individual work and planning.) No one ever complains about having more time in their day.