WFH Wednesday: 6 Tips to Fight Zoom Fatigue
Welcome back to another edition of Work From Home Wednesday. This week’s topic? The dreaded Zoom fatigue.
Have you noticed that a day full of Zoom meetings feels twice as exhausting as a normal day in the office? In some ways, this makes little intuitive sense: after all, there are plenty of other daily frustrations (a long commute, for example) that don’t factor into our work-from-home lives.
That being said, intuitive or otherwise, the Zoom fatigue is real. Here are 6 quick tips for avoiding exhaustion and getting more out of your meetings:
1. Resist the Urge to Multitask
We’ve listed this first, because for many people, this one is the hardest! Our shortening attention spans and our limited schedules mean that it is very tempting to get other quick tasks done during a Zoom meeting — firing off a few emails, reorganizing your calendar, or finally beating that super hard level of Candy Crush.
According to the Harvard Business Review, however, you’re probably not multitasking as efficiently as you think. In fact, there’s a good chance that not only are you doing your work worse, you’re frying your brain in the process.
2. Know Your Limits
When you’re working from home, it can be hard to measure your own productivity — because we don’t occupy many different spaces physically throughout the day, it’s easy to feel like you have to work extra hard to catch up, regardless of whether you’re meeting your deadlines.
So in case you need to hear it, trust us: it’s okay to say no! There’s not much you can do about mandatory meetings, but that opt-in Zoom cocktail hour? There will be plenty more where that came from, so do yourself a favor, and take a break if you need it.
3. Don’t Default to Video
Remember simpler times, when “hopping on a call” always meant phone call? Although there are plenty of benefits to Zoom and other video-conferencing apps, there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned phone call — or even a few back-and-forth emails!
There’s no reason to exclusively communicate via Zoom, unless the situation calls for it, so feel free to get creative and shake things up.
4. Optimize Your Video Settings
The general consensus on on-screen stimuli? Whether you realize it or not, what’s happening on screen is constantly activating different parts of your brain, which goes a long way towards explaining your post-meeting exhaustion.
When it comes to Zoom, it’s important to think about how your brain processes transitions best/most easily: for some people, gallery view presents too many stimuli at once. But for others, staying in speaker view during a meeting where multiple people are talking can be overwhelming, since the main image is constantly jumping from one speaker to another. Feel free to test different strategies out, so you know which settings are best for you.
5. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
You’ve probably heard this one before: every 20 minutes, you should shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This is especially true during long meetings where you’re doing nothing but staring at your screen, and if done correctly, can help reduce eye strain.
6. Be Sure to Stretch Your Legs
During an average day pre-quarantine, you probably walked more than you think: to and from your car, to the shop, to the cute little lunch place 5 blocks from your office. You may or may not have been an exercise nut, but you had places to be, and you used your legs to get there.
Now more than ever, it’s important to make an intentional effort to keep yourself moving on a daily basis. A walk (or two) a day will not only help keep you in shape, it’ll also improve your sleep, your concentration, and hopefully help keep that pesky Zoom fatigue at bay.
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