I had not originally planned to address this in my “online meeting series” but I’ve had lots of comments from friends and colleagues about how tired they have been after sitting through an endless number of online meetings. With everything changing rapidly with COVID-19 and folks wanting to stay connected and figure out some sort of plan as soon as possible, the meeting invitations have become almost endless. While we all want to stay connected personally and professionally in this very virtual time, it’s important not to forget to set boundaries and the lessons we learned several weeks ago from our “ideal week.” Your “ideal week” may have changed dramatically from a month ago, but it’s still important to figure out some sort of “plan” for your week so that you can continue to make progress on your greatest priorities and contributions to your team, coalition, partnership and family. Join me this week as I provide 3 recommendations on overcoming online meeting fatigue.
- Determine whether you really need to meet. While check-in meetings are important and we do want to stay connected, you probably don’t need to check in every day with everyone. Consider why you are meeting (we will address this more in depth in a couple of weeks) and whether a meeting is necessary to accomplish your purpose. Also, if a meeting is necessary, does it need to be an hour or could it be 30 minutes – or maybe 15 minutes?
- Decide when you are (and are not) available for meetings. Look at your ideal week, your best time for writing and energy and consider what days make the most sense for meetings and what days don’t make as much sense for meetings and try to schedule them on your “meeting days.” While you may not always be the one scheduling the meeting, you may be able to have influence on when the meeting(s) will be happening. If you have scheduled time on your calendar to work on writing or project work and someone has asked you for a meeting at that time, it is perfectly ok to let them know you are not available and suggest another time. Also, consider whether you need to be part of every meeting you are invited to attend. It may be “nice” but not “necessary” and you can work with your team and colleagues to figure out who really needs to attend which meeting. For some meetings, you may want to do a virtual “rock, paper, scissors” on who attends! 🙂
- Schedule time for breaks in between meetings. One of the things I have had to do is be intentional about leaving time in between meetings. Either schedule them for less than an hour or make sure you leave room in between meetings (as much as possible). On my meeting days, I have recently been over ambitious about meeting that I haven’t had a break and that is one of the biggest reasons for online meeting fatigue – and overall fatigue! I recommend not only allowing yourself a break from meetings but also break away from your computer. Stand up and walk around, go for a walk outside, take a dance break, drink some water, eat a snack (ideally healthy…) or something else you enjoy that will get you away from your desk and your computer.
So what about you? What are you going to do as you plan your next week to reduce your online meeting fatigue?
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Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash