It’s November. November 2020, to reiterate. While we all have figured out how to set up a Zoom meeting (and handle breakout rooms if you are a real expert), an unspoken truth in the world of today is Zoom fatigue.
What is Zoom fatigue? Zoom fatigue is the never ending dread of having to log onto yet another meeting that should be taking place somewhere else. Zoom fatigue is the lack of energy and effort put into daily tasks that would be there otherwise.
Petriglieri, in the article “The reason Zoom calls drain your energy” says it perfectly: “The video call is our reminder of the people we have lost temporarily.. what I'm finding is, we’re all exhausted; It doesn't matter whether they are introverts or extroverts. We are experiencing the same disruption of the familiar context during the pandemic.”
I am here to tell you two things. One, Zoom fatigue is REAL! You are not the only one feeling this way. Two, you can help combat it! Simple things such as changing your workspace or putting on jeans instead of sweatpants can boost your mood and help you fight your exhaustion. Here are six ways you can stay engaged virtually. As Troy Bolton would say, we’re all in this together!
Break Up Your Routine
Yes, you heard me! I am the queen of routine and thrive in knowing when and what is happening next. Stick to your core routine, of course, and attend to your daily tasks. At the same time, break up your daily routine by doing something out of the ordinary. If you always pack lunch for yourself, go out to eat. If you have an extra 15 minutes, call a friend who wasn’t expecting it. By breaking up your day even just a little bit, you can alter the monotony of everyday living. In times as they are now, this is especially important. Breaking up your routine can give you a little extra energy throughout the day to stay focused in your daily tasks and Zoom meetings.
Look Good, Feel Better
I hate to say it - ditch those sweatpants! Well, don’t ditch them everyday. I’m talking about the famous quote, “If you look good, you feel good.” Take an extra 15 minutes in the morning to brush your hair and slap on some mascara. Doing this can subconsciously affect your mood, and thus contribute to your online fatigue. According to Crain’s Cleveland Business, a simple change in your closet can contribute to boosting your work performance and your mood. So, throw on a shirt that not only looks good, but makes you feel good. Enhance your mood to build up your stamina throughout the day.
I’m guilty! You are already on your computer, so why not multitask? It is so easy to think that you can use your time in Zoom meetings to accomplish other tasks on your plate. However, research proves just the opposite. According to The Harvard Business Review, switching between tasks can cost you as much as 40 percent of your productive time. Stanford researchers also found that people who multitask can't remember things as well as their peers focused on the task at hand. As tempting as it is, the next time you are participating in a Zoom call, put in all of your focus. I promise, you will end up being much more productive.
Limit Your Daily Calls
This may not be completely in control, but control the time of the calls if you can. Limiting your daily calls can help lead you to ending your day not entirely exhausted by Zoom. If someone is asking your availability, give back times and days that work best for you - by you I mean the number of calls you have that day. Just because you are available from 6-8, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fill up your schedule entirely. Give yourself (and your eyes) time away from your screen!
Change Your Environment
Stating the obvious - girl, change your study/work/Zoom location! I fall victim to studying at my same desk, every day. It’s comfortable and it’s convenient. However, I challenge you (and myself) to switch up your space at least a few times a week. Study at a library or work from your local coffee shop. Living the same routine each and every day, especially in a virtual space, can lack excitement and become boring. Even moving from your normal workspace to your kitchen counter can add a little variety into your daily routine.
Remember Why You’re Doing This
Learning, working, and living online is not what any of us are used to doing. However, remember that those around you are working to create an online environment that is best fit for everyone involved. When you are getting tired of call after call, stay positive. Remember why you are doing this! In doing so, challenge yourself to put the same amount of effort into your work online as you would in person. Or, attend things that you otherwise would in a non-virtual setting! Attend a guest speaker presentation put on by your company. Go to the virtual game day put on by your freshman dorm RA! Push yourself to go the extra mile and help create normalcy around yourself.