Over the last 2 weeks, we have seen research and articles on remote workers clocking in 3 extra hours on average, lunch breaks vanishing, increasing expectations and pressure from stakeholders to be available early mornings, late evenings and weekends, and universal Zoom exhaustion. We have to acknowledge the toll this is taking on us. Jeff Weiner’s post on LinkedIn, reminding us to build in buffer, was a much needed acknowledgement by an industry thought leader, judging by the almost 50,000 responses.
Meetings are the single biggest drain on our time, and the most unproductive.
Here are some simple tips to build in buffer:
Seek out energizing conversations
While this doesn’t help you build buffer, it does give you the oxygen and energy to survive all else.
Not every meeting has to be a video! Seriously!
Video is best for brainstorming, teaming, 1x1s, where the interpersonal aspect is key. For information sharing, status updates, a video is nice to have, not a must. Being on video for long periods is exhausting, stifling, and prevents multitasking (not every meeting deserves your undivided attention!), and cramps your style by limiting the range of your body language.
Block a day without meetings
Yes, It sounds impossible, and I’m still trying, but putting blocks on your calendar, even if it is just the lunch hour, or a morning or afternoon a week, helps you take a breath, focus on a passion project without endless distractions. Your health and sanity are more important than any meeting.
Build a survival plan for long video meetings
Nod engagingly, but go off video every 30-45 mins, to stretch, get a cup of tea, check in on the family, switch to a walking meeting, or just see greenery.
Avoid soul sucking meetings
Easier said than done, I know. There are meetings that are pointless, unsalvageable, political and at times toxic. Avoid these altogether, or at least minimize their impact on you, for your own sanity.
It is fascinating and heartbreaking how in some places remote working is sparking creativity and fostering community, and in others, bringing out bad behaviors of decades ago, from lack of trust and need for control, to insensitivity towards work life balance, to cruelty and exploitation where people don’t have options.
Address bad behavior. Be direct. Be factual. Be constructive. Find common ground.
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