Zoom fatigue.

You know it.  I know it.  We all know it.

Meetings are up 250% since pre-pandemic.

Because most meetings are virtual these days, we no longer require physically moving from one place to another to get to meetings.

And so they are back-to-back-to-back-to-back all day long.

A brick wall of meetings.

No time to eat, to think, or even to pee.

And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t going well for us.

Yes, you know this viscerally, in your bones. 

But just in case you want proof, Microsoft did a study on this and found that simply adding a short, break between meetings kept stress levels stable (vs, increasing stress levels throughout the day without breaks).

So, you know what you need to do, right?  

Right??

Hint: It’s not to make your workday longer by adding in breaks but keeping meetings intact!

It’s time to shorten your meetings!

I know it’s scary to be the one to speak out, to make a suggestion. 

But I guarantee you that your coworkers will be into it. 

You’ll have allies!  Promise!

How do I know this?

Well, have you ever heard anyone say:

“You know what I LOVE about my job? The fact that I’m in back-to-back meetings all day every day with no time to even pee!”

Want a little help getting the ball rolling?  

  • Use your native calendar to help you:
    • Google has the “Speedy Meetings” setting
    • Outlook has the “end meetings early” setting
  • If you’re using a meeting scheduler like Calendly, set your default meetings to be 20 or 25 minutes, 45 or 50 minutes.

Oh, you’ve done that?  But no one sticks to it?

  • Try saying at the beginning of each meeting:
    • “Just a reminder that this meeting runs until 10:50 so we can all have a bit of breathing room, take care of our body’s needs, and get our action items documented”.
  • Then anoint someone as the timekeeper (maybe it’s you!)
    • Encourage them to be brave, and when the meeting’s got 2 minutes left, to say “We have 2 minutes left; here’s the recap.”
  • Remember to use the language of experimentation (instead of the language of change)! Everyone’s willing to experiment, but no one wants to change.

The only reason our meetings are 30 minutes or 60 minutes is because those are the standard calendar defaults. That’s it. These aren’t magic windows for perfectly timed meetings.

So let’s rethink the defaults.