Are you taking time to pee? I ask it all the time. Now, more than ever, I hear constantly “my day is jammed”, “I’m in back-to-back meetings all day”, “and my days are getting longer”. For everyone’s sake, could we just STOP IT? Just STOP IT please! Talking this situation through with a client recently who, as a conscientious and caring leader, was expressing her real concern for her team’s health. She recognised it’s neither efficient or effective for people to sit at their screens all day, clicking from one zoom meeting to the next with barely the opportunity to stand up, grab a coffee, or – yes – even go for a pee! So we talked through many well-tested and well-proven strategies to change this habit of feeling stuck, helpless and imprisoned in meeting after meeting. We covered several possible ways to change this habit: shorten all meetings to 30 or 45 minutes and actively create transition time between for people to catch their breath, stretch, get a refreshment or a comfort break; give people permission to say no to meetings that are nice to attend rather than of high value to attend (don’t attend unless you’re an active participant); declare ‘no email’ and/or ‘no meetings’ days or at least half days so that people can feel they get on with important work; don’t invite people or take people with you to a meeting ‘just in case’ they are needed (you can call them in if it’s essential can’t you?), and on and on.
So we can see the sense in many of these different approaches. Why, then do we persist with our habituated and ineffective ways? Really it takes one person to change the habit and show others they have permission to act differently. It’s too easy for people to be subsumed into the ‘collective’ – even if it’s something we constantly moan about.
As Bob Newhart says in the famous, often parodied ‘coaching’ sketch here, just STOP IT. Stop behaving in a way that doesn’t help you to be your best, to achieve your best and to feel your best. Find one small step – leave the meeting if you’re not contributing, leave the meeting 10 minutes early, change your google calendar so that it doesn’t default to one hour meetings and control you.
Your Turn: So it starts with each and every person. Have a conversation as a team and make a conscious decision to change your habit. To take control of your own time and attendance – which in turn means taking charge of your own health and well being. You are in charge of YOU. Be the disrupter. Do something different. People will love you for it. #lead boldly, #live fully