There no doubt that technology is wonderful at this time because it allows you to work from home and still connect to your colleagues, clients and meet new people through virtual Friday night drinks. But have you noticed something a little different in your being because you spend a lot of time communicating via a screen? I have noticed feeling a bit more tired, seeking screen free time but also having a need to connect, be entertained and stay informed. This raises the question of how do you look after yourself while maintaining relationships, interacting with co workers and getting through this pandemic without a fried brain?
Like most things that are new, you need some time to adjust and find a rhythm that works for you, maybe it is doing things a little differently and taking the pressure off to be ‘on’ all the time.
I have listed a few of my initial thoughts of how to reduce the impact of so much screen time and welcome your suggestions too.
Pace Things out
You are in sensory overload when running online meetings as you are trying to pick up on non verbals, dealing with delays in being able to speak, managing interruption by dogs and children – there is so much going on that when you are in person seems to part of being in the room together. Not having back to back to back meetings like you would in person seems like a good idea, your brain is in sensory overload and you may need to look at the calendar and ensure that there is some recuperation time in between calls or change it up a little by having ‘face to face’ and then a phone call where you can walk around and change environments.
Are you having your ‘normal’ breaks?
This is about being aware so that you are not sitting in the same place all the time. Get up and get a drink, move and stretch so that you are shifting energy – this often happens in the office when you walk to the toilet, speak with a colleague etc. Maybe its changing it up by standing for some of the day, break it up and go outside for a while, its important to be conscious of not sitting in the same place all day long.
Change it up
Not only is it the environment you are in but have you used different ways to be in online meetings. Is it that you change headphones so its not all vibrating in your mind all the time or do you need to sit back from the screen some times? Is there an opportunity to use your phone and turn the video off so that you don’t make everyone dizzy if you need to walk and talk (and listen)
Something else to consider is your routine for transitioning in and out of meetings/ work. Are there things you can do to make the separation easier.
You may need our computers for a lot of functional aspects your role but can you get part of the day screen free? Do some brainstorming on butchers paper, grab the post its, markers and work through things with out needing to use a screen. Vary tasks, whiteboard, use creativity to problem solve and communicate. Get into the tactile, the auditory and the visual aspects in different ways – its not always about being in meetings, sometime the same information can be explored in creative ways (if you need a hand with this yell out) and maybe there are some creative challenges that the team can participate in.
A good question to ask is – can I get this information in another way? ie in a book!
Zone out for a while
Think about ways that you can have a break from the screen. Is it doing some art, playing games, meditating, exercise, getting in nature etc to ensure that you are getting some you time. While its not possible to socialise, work and do extra curricular activities like we once were, maybe its about simplifying and giving ourselves a bit of a rest.. Its okay to be doing ‘nothing’ as that’s where creativity and new ideas can be bought to the surface.
There is no doubt that it is a challenging time and I would like to hear from you about some of the strategies that have worked for you – this is a new way of working and while it presents some rethinking there might be a way to navigate this all the more easily. I would love to her your thoughts.