Recently, I had a coaching call with someone I’ve had the pleasure of coaching over the last year. They’ve already made tremendous improvements since I first met them by using our system and tools. But with all the uncertainty that’s going on right now, I discovered they had gotten back into a place where they felt stuck and they didn’t know how to coach themselves out of being stuck. Often our thoughts are the biggest thing that holds us back from action.
A lot of us are feeling big time Zoom Fatigue these days. Harvard Business Review and Forbes have both shared articles on this topic in the last month. Going from video call to video call with no time in between to do our work, recharge, or even to just stop and think. And that’s really holding us back from being our best selves, from showing up with confidence and clarity to create impact for other people.
I know we all just want to get better, and in this time of social distancing, virtual work, and isolation, everything is compounded and we are more fatigued then ever and in a funk. So, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What’s standing in my way and keeping me from moving forward?” And, “Whose permission am I seeking to get unstuck and change my thoughts into action within this uncertainty?”
Changing your life and getting out of your own way come down to just factor: you. You are the only person you can control. You get to choose how you show up, how you behave, and ultimately what happens to you. As I always say, what happens to you is because of you. This is because we have the capability to question our own thoughts and motivations, which affects mindset. And mindset can eradicate fatigue.
So if you are struggling with Zoom Fatigue, use our tips to own your role in that and then make the changes that are going to best serve you and help you create impact.
Get Your Mind Clear
With everything that’s going on, we’re probably feeling a lot more anxious, confused, and tense than normal. While it’s ok to feel that way for a short time, we need to not get stuck. Your mind must be clear in order for you to show up to every Zoom meeting or call with confidence and clarity. To get your thoughts under control, start a meditation practice. Use an app like Waking Up With Sam Harris, Calm or Headspace to start your day with a guided meditation.
Change Your Thoughts
We all know mindset is key. But right now, we need to make sure we’re approaching every day with a positive mindset. If you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about your own performance or that of your team, it’s time to ask questions about that talk track in your head. Are those thoughts true? Usually they’re not. Actively use questioning to accept the real thoughts, fear, anger, etc. as reality and then move on to set yourself free to get into action. Try saying the positive aspect of the reality aloud and repeating each positive phrase for extra emphasis. You might even laugh which is a step in the right direction.
Own Your Calendar
One of the easiest things we can do to fight Zoom Fatigue is to take back control of our thoughts about our calendar. Don’t let other people dictate your day for you. Don’t let other people drag you into back-to-back meetings. Be firm and schedule 45 or 50-minute meetings instead of 60 minutes. This will give you 10-15 minutes at the top of each hour to take a breath, do a quick meditation, prepare for your next meeting, or even take a walk around the block to clear your head. You will approach the uncertainty with clarity of thought!
Assign a Communication “Czar or Czarina” for Your Meeting
If you’re like most of my clients, as soon as you get off a call you all immediately send follow up emails with your notes, lobbying your position about what was discussed and what the next steps will be based on the outcome of the discussion. But, there’s a better way. Meeting notes recorded on the spot creates immediate consensus and avoids time wasted relitigating positions. Appoint a communication “czar or czarina” to capture all the salient details of the meeting, agree on the points BEFORE the call is over, and then have that person quickly send a copy of their notes to all attendees. Wow, think of how much time and energy you’ll save!
Be Intentional About Making Time to Recharge
For many of us, exercise was built around routine and accountability. Now that gyms and fitness studios are closed, we’re finding it difficult to keep these habits in our schedule. And now, it matters now more than ever and we have the bonus of more flexibility to get it done. So do it. Be intentional about making time to recharge. You can’t serve others and show up well if you’re not taking time for yourself. Make sure you’re scheduling in time each day to do a workout, walk, or even just stretch. Something that forces you to move your body and work up a sweat. I actually do sets of push-ups, pull-ups or sit-ups between my calls. By the end of the day I have belted out hundreds of each.
Schedule Free Time to Think
When was the last time you took an hour just to stare off into space and think? In our fast-paced world, we’re increasingly driven by deadlines and the need to use up every second of the workday being hyper-productive. Taking time to sit and be alone with our own thoughts feels indulgent. It is absolutely critical to free your thoughts to grow and create innovation. It solves your challenges, both in the workplace and in your life. If you never get the space to just “think”, you will always be stuck in reaction mode. You need to create thinking space in order to start being proactive, rather than reactive. Google and many other amazing companies actually have policies of “20% time” to do or think about things that are meaningful. And, while many question whether that really exists or works, what we know for sure is that it does create a culture of wanting to be known for thinking time and innovation.
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