Take Breaks Between Meetings

newsletter Mar 10, 2024

Short tip today: take breaks between meetings.

Microsoft did a study where they placed an EEG monitor on people's heads and had them sit in back to back meetings.

The results confirmed what we all know:

Repeated back-to-back meetings are the worst!

Stress, as measured by the EEG, increases with each meeting until reaching what looks like a plateau by meeting #4.

Personally, I know that by a fourth meeting (without a break) I turn into an automaton.

Nodding, smiling, and answering questions at the right times, but not truly engaged in the conversation. 

Short breaks prevent this!

If I take 5 minutes after a meeting to:

  • stretch
  • take some deep breaths
  • get a drink
  • go outside to get some sunlight
  • take a quick walk (even if only inside)
  • do light exercise like 5 pushups

Anything to temporarily "turn on the body" and "turn off the mind" - and I find that I show up to my next meeting or work session with more energy.

I have a theory that many things in life are fractal without us realizing it.

Stacking back to back meetings for several hours raises stress levels, and if we "go up to a level" to consider stacking back to back days with meetings - I've found those are stressful too.

Deep creative work flows easily on days with few meetings.

And so I try to block out a few days each week with zero meetings for exactly this reason.

Hopefully you can use this tip to bring a little more of that wonderful flow state to your days - where time stops, the job becomes effortless, and problems are solved without you having to try.

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