(April 4, 2023 Newsletter)
Feel stressed going from back to back meetings? You’re not alone.
This image caught my attention yesterday on LinkedIn. The message was clear – taking breaks between meetings lowers our stress levels (the study, published by Microsoft last year, also found that breaks help us focus in meetings).
One of the recommendations in the Microsoft study is that if you schedule 5-10 minute breaks between meetings, don’t use that time to squeeze in more work. The purpose is to reset your emotions.
So I decided to try it.
Yesterday morning (around the time that I saw the post) I was racing between back-to-back meetings. The whole morning had been stressful, which is not a fun way to start a Monday morning, especially on a short week.
When I had 3 minutes between meetings, I resisted the urge to try to squeeze in another task. Instead, I swiveled my office chair away from my desk and faced a window where warm sunlight was streaming in.
I set the timer on my phone to 1 minute and closed my eyes.
Amazingly, the second I took a deep breath, I felt calming chills run down my body – from the crown of my head, down my forehead, the back of my neck, my arms, and legs.
I focused my attention on the sounds I could hear (birds chirping and planes flying overhead). I focused on what I was feeling (the warmth from the sunlight on my black jeans; the way my crocs feel on the soles of my feet). I relaxed my jaw muscles.
I felt a reset happening.
When the alarm brought me back to the room, I felt like I just woken up fresh from a nap.
The Microsoft study recommends 5-10 minutes, but 1 was actually enough for me (maybe 90 seconds, since I had to set the alarm 😊). 1 minute is a lot less of a commitment than 10, so give it a try.
(Coincidence that this message was sitting on my desk all day yesterday?)
The Coaching Corner
People’s first answer usually isn’t their best.
Next time you ask someone a question that requires them to think about their answer, try asking “What else?” instead of accepting their first response as the final one.
What else might be going on?
What else do you think is causing it?
What else do you want here?
I'm not advocating for banning meetings entirely (everything in moderation, right?), but read the article about all the great things that happened when Shopify reduced its meetings company-wide last year.
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