How to Stay Healthy and Sane in the Age of Back-to-Back Video Meetings

The other day a client asked if I had any thoughts on how to better cope with days full of back to back video meetings. Given the state of the pandemic, it is what every company has moved towards, to continue work while keeping safe at home.

The unintended consequence of this working style has meant that we live, breathe, and work in the same spaces all day long. Sedentary people in pre-pandemic times were still moving in order to get up, get in the car, go to an office and work, and then return in the evening. However, sedentary people became even more sedentary during these times. The more active members of society instantly became sedentary and then some, and in many ways has affected them in larger ways with the removal of their usual, daily movement.

The result is all sorts of documented issues. Mental issues such as anxiety, isolation, fears, and more have all been magnified. Physical issues have risen as well, through the lack of movement and all the ailments that come from that.

Until pandemic requirements change, we will be forced to work in this new normal. Many pundits have forecast even more permanent changes, as corporations find that they are still capable of producing while having cost savings in the lack of need for offices. It is quite possible that this style of working will become permanent in some fashion regardless of whether pandemic requirements are lifted.

Better that we find strategies to cope and thrive through our Zoom driven meetings!

I thought about my work with Modern Health which can be very much like that. However, I have managed to cope and, dare I say, even thrive despite having a day full of back to back video meetings. How do I stay energetic and present in spite of that?

A day of Modern Health meetings can be very full. The meetings go from one into another, and are only 30 minutes long. There is a need to be in service of the client and their needs, and also be as fresh and energetic as possible when you show up to a meeting. Punctuality is also a requirement, as each client is entitled to their 30 minutes with you.

For coaches, this can be particularly challenging. Client meetings can sometimes take a lot of energy. Being present for certain types of coaching meetings, like highly charged or emotional ones, can take a lot of energy to guide a client through, and in only 30 minutes. Recharge between sessions can mean the difference between ineffective and highly transformative coaching conversations. I remember in coaching school, many of our mentors would often say they had trouble going beyond 4-5 sessions per day.

It was with this in mind that I began coaching through Modern Health. As my client matches grew, so did the fullness of my calendar. And yet, after many months of coaching very full days, I have come to a place where I can remain energetic and present through as many as 10 coaching sessions per day, which is not quite what my more experienced mentors talked about!

In reflecting on how I managed to achieve this, here is what I came up with. I share it with you as I am sure it can be the framework for survival in the Age of Back to Back Zoom Meetings. Here they are:

Take breaks, schedule them in. Don’t skip breaks.

Taking breaks within the day is critical to recharging between meetings. Switching contexts from meeting to meeting requires mental/emotional resets. Not giving yourself time and space to recover from the previous meeting, and then prepare oneself for the next, will result in energy drain, anxiety, and overwhelm as you try to navigate the information and stimuli across the day of meetings.

Therefore, schedule them in. Block out time for breaks and set boundaries to not let anyone put a meeting in those times.

By the way, once you schedule them in, DON’T SKIP THEM. Set the boundary to take the break and recover. Don’t use the time to drain yourself further.

This also goes for seemingly minor things like bathroom breaks, and larger items for lunch. It is easy to skip lunch in favor of a meeting. DON’T DO IT. Get up and eat. Same for bathroom breaks. Even 15 min to answer nature’s call is necessary!

In my calendar, I have blocked out lunch times, break times, and workout times. I also block out time for picking up the kids from school. And currently, based on my current situation, I also have totally blocked off Mondays for me to get some critical things done. These are nearly never broken – of course there will be the occasional times when you do need to do something else during those times. By and large, those times are sacred and for me to do the things I need to do for myself or others.

Change in position, change in scenery.

Being stuck in the same chair, if not the same room, all day long can really take its toll. Simply changing position or taking a stroll to change scenery can be remarkably restorative. Read more about it in my post here.

In my day, I am always up and about in between meetings. Bathroom visits, going to the kitchen to grab another cup of coffee, or just getting on my pull up bar and doing some quick reps. It keeps my blood flowing, clears my brain, and if I can, I sneak some movement practice in towards one of my many personal movement goals.

Relieve monotony.

How can you relieve monotony or boredom in the meetings you have? It could be outlook, it can be a new way of looking at the content of the meeting (example: growth opportunity versus a slog). It can be the different types of meetings held, content delivery methods, or maybe done in a new place.

In my coaching sessions, one thing I enjoy most is the randomness of the topics presented by clients. I never know what they are coming in with, and it keeps me extremely curious, agile, and engaged. Therefore, it’s never a dull moment in a day of Modern Health client meetings!

Joy in what you do.

Lately, I have been examining the importance of alignment with passions and purpose as one of the key motivators of sustaining some state of being. If you can align what you’re doing in these meetings with a higher passion and purpose, there will be nothing stopping you from being energized through an entire day of meetings.

One of my passions is that I find joy and fulfillment in helping others. It is a key element in keeping energized and present for all my many clients all day. I love hearing their stories, creating space for them to express and grow, and watching them take what emerges in a session, make it their own, and run with it. It is extremely rewarding for me to see people unstuck themselves and truly live the lives they were meant to.

And so I am able to shift from a place of serving 3-5 clients and feeling drained to a place where I can manage up to 10 clients in a day and still have gas in the tank for more of life after.

After reading the above, what might be one thing you could consider changing that would relieve the negative effects of your back to back Zoom meetings?