One of my former JOs recently started working on a large command headquarters staff after spending two years aboard ship working as a Signals Information Warfare Officer (SIGWO). She e-mailed me a few days ago for some advice.
"I'm wasting a tremendous amount of time," she complained to me in her e-mail, "I'm in some kind of meeting all day. The only way I can get any real work done is by coming in real early (0500) and staying super late (2000). My kids hate me."
My JO had moved from a very lean, tactically focused operational shipboard organization to a land-locked organization of several hundred and was ironically drowning ashore in the time suck of of Headquarters Staff collaboration. She is one Action Officer among dozens.
She pointed to the same three things we have all struggled with that wasted our time the most on the staff - unnecessarily long meetings with disinterested participants and no firm agenda, hundreds of unimportant e-mails, and protracted PowerPoint brief preparation, revision, and presentation.
I called her this past Friday at 1630 to give her some advice. Proudly, she had already solved the problem herself - she went home. Some problems resolve themselves.