This week I had the luxury (yes, luxury) of meeting up with two friends I have not seen in ages due to you-know-what. These friends are brilliant entrepreneurs who historically have spent thousands of dollars and hours on their personal development—like myself. We are usually the first to join a mastermind group or sign up for a conference. One of my favorite things about our friendship is that many of our conversations center around what we’ve been reading, learning, or the latest podcast that has caught our attention. But this discussion was different.
One friend openly admitted that she just couldn’t listen to one more audiobook or take one more course. She said, for some reason, she’s just done. She said, “I know I’m not perfect, and I have lots of opportunities to grow and improve, but I just can’t stomach one more course or book. It’s like my brain is full.” Our other friend agreed that she was struggling the same way too.
Listening to them made me realize that I have spent a lot of money on personal development this year. Although I’m excited to learn these specific topics I’ve invested in, I’ve been struggling to sit through more content, watch more online modules or make time for more study. I feel staying online for more hours in a day than required feels like a new form of imprisonment in the post-Covid age.
I blurted out: “I don’t need any more information right now; I need connection.”
When I heard those words fall out of my mouth, I realized I was finally speaking my truth on something that had been bothering me for months.
I’ve been so grateful to work remotely with so many high-performing professionals over the past 18 months—I don’t think I noticed how much in-person connection was still missing from my day-to-day life. But in the past few months, I’ve been surprised by the deep feelings of loneliness in the face of hours of online discussion with brilliant minds included in my standard workday.
So, I’ve decided for August to step away from any work tasks that aren’t re-arranged or urgent. I’ve decided to let myself off the hook from gathering any and all information that doesn’t bring me immediate peace or relaxation. I’ve decided to unplug from the things that can wait.
I will be focused on connection. Connection with friends. Connection with family. Connection with my neighbours who might be walking their dog on a summer night and connection with the local business owner who might be so thankful to see customers coming back in the door.
The best part is that the new school year in September naturally inspires a renewed excitement for growth, learning, and taking on big goals.
If you are like me, you don’t need more information. But a hefty dose of connection might just want the doctor ordered. Who do you need to connect with?
Apparently, my story above correlates with piles of research so I’m including it below. Hopefully some of this research inspires you and your fellow leaders to make more time for safe in-person connection.
- Microsoft studied worker brains during endless meetings. It’s true, they’re stressful. Here are some of the solutions they’re using to address it.
- Here are four main causes for Zoom fatigue, and some simple solutions for them.
- Vox asks the question “do video calls actually bring us closer, or just highlight the distance?”
- Why are all those Zoom meetings so draining? And what can you do about it?
- Zoom fatigue is real, and it’s causing a new kind of anxiety.
And, if this month is a busy one, I’ve included 5 simple ways to get more work done with less time on zoom.
5 ways you can Zoom out more
- Shave your meetings to 25 minutes or 50 minutes
- Book non-zoom blocks of time or days
- Skip video and go voice only (wow, what an idea!)
- Send a video or voice memo instead of meeting
- Get your team to agree to block 12-1 for a no-meeting lunch hour