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.