Zoom in and Zoom out! Beating ‘Zoom gloom’!
Since the Covid-19 lockdown and the changes in how we work have kicked in: two things have happened. One, more of us have been working from home – often wearing shorts and pyjamas to work meetings! And two, we’ve all been having more video calls.
But I don’t know if it’s just me but I can get a bit tired of them. Now, don’t get me wrong l like connecting with real people but also I’m realising that video calls are making me feel tired too. So I thought I’d investigate.
Are we all Zoom’ed out? Does looking at others on a screen make us tired?
It wasn’t just me thankfully!
According to Gianpiero Petriglieri (Associate Professor of learning and development in the workplace) even though we are meeting face to face online, video meetings are way more draining. Because we aren’t able to relax as much and we are always trying to read the little clues that people project, the micro-signals of their tone of voice, body language and even their tiny facial expressions. Phew, no wonder I get “brain fog” after long Zoom meetings because I’m working harder trying to “read people”, something that I took for granted in face-to-face meetings. He goes on in the BBC article: “…paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,”
There has also been a lot of talk above the awkwardness of online meetings. I was speaking on the phone to a friend the other day and we were talking over each other getting animated and excited and it was fine and seemed very natural. But over video you can’t talk over each other and worse than that there is often a short delay too, where the call drops or there is an awkward silence that makes us repeat ourselves. We had a call with friends last week where we had to abandon it as the connection was just not working and we spent 20 minutes saying “what”, “sorry”, ”can you say that again?” – it was the equivalent of speaking to a friend while sat on the hard shoulder of the M1 – we were talking but couldn’t hear a thing. It felt ‘odd’. No wonder we find them more tiring than face to face meetings.
I remember thinking as a kid how amazing video calling would be, and now it is here in full force, it is not quite all it is cracked up to be! I was on Zoom for five hours the other day and my brain was tired. But why was it, it is only a video call. I then realised that in real-world work meetings we aren’t always 100% there, let’s admit it! We all zone out a bit, i.e. when someone is speaking for too long – we tend to let our minds wander, we notice the odd paintings on the wall, and if they are really boring we start to count the tiles on the ceiling or start thinking what we are going to have for lunch. Then of course we usually zoom back in, but the act of ‘zooming out’ (no pun intended) is a little break for our brain, it’s good for us. We need to remind ourselves of that.
So if you have a long video call or a few in one day, don’t forget to:
Take regular breaks.
Try and get them to keep it to an hour!
Allow ourselves to ‘Zoom out’ occasionally.
Mute your audio/video so you can stand up, stretch and walk around.
Don’t schedule back to back video calls
Also, don’t expect yourself to be more efficient in the lockdown, we are all dealing with lots of change, so schedule rest and breaks.
Video calling is now a big part of work, and it is important, but we as humans cannot be focused on someone’s face on a screen 100% of the time, we’re not robots, so be kind to yourself, take brain breaks and hopefully we’ll start to keep video meetings useful, especially if everyone decides to get to the point a little quicker! But that’s another article altogether!
Lee Jackson is an award-winning Speaker and Presentation Coach. He delivers his ‘Get Good At Work (from home)’ sessions on and offline internationally. You can find him at leejackson.biz and on twitter @leejackson
Ep15 – Interview with US-based Professional Speaker + YouTube viral sensation Coach Jim Johnson – made famous when his high school basketball game went viral after he substituted into the game the team manager J-Mac. J-Mac is an autistic young man who went on to score 20 points in 4 minutes! Hear more of the story here.
Jim’s website is here: https://coachjimjohnson.com
The videos and more info is here:
Probably like most of you I watch a bit of TV. Of all the things in life, TV is one of the easiest ways for me to relax. After a day of speaking or training where I’ve often been on my feet all day, working the room, keeping people engaged and happy, it is exhausting. My feet hurt and my brain is tired, emotionally tired as they say. So when I get home or back to my hotel room, an hour or so of ‘mindless’ early evening TV really helps me to reset my brain and move on. My wife Clare has learnt to ignore me for an hour or so I’m sure too. I shut the door in the living room or to my hotel room, put on the ‘mindless’ TV and I enjoy a strong cup of Decaf Yorkshire tea and a snack while I ‘come into land’!
But even though I do find TV helpful at times, there is a growing problem with TV and media these days. It is ingrained into our culture but it can be something that we miss. And that is that TV is more and more about extremes. Extreme situations and extreme people sell programs and it is getting bigger. Look at some of the programs that are really popular. The top programs watched in the first half of 2019 so far are Line of Duty, Britain’s Got Talent, Manhunt, Call the Midwife, Luther, Cleaning Up, Cheat, Death in Paradise, Coronation Street and Vera. What do most of them have in common?
Extreme situations and eccentric people make good TV and clickable news posts. As someone said TV is life with all the boring bits taken out. Now, I’m not saying that we need more boring programs, I mean Gardeners World is there for all to see and we probably had enough of those ‘fly on the wall’ documentaries in the 2000’s to last us a lifetime.
But my point is this. If we always pump out extremes as the norm then we miss one of the best ways to live our lives.
And that is with moderation.
Yeah I know it sounds a bit dull. But I am keen to celebrate moderation. Sure we’d lose such gems as the derivatives of ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’ and ‘My 600-lb Life’, but we’ll probably survive, I reckon.
Imagine when it came to money, people just spent a bit, saved a bit and gave a bit away?
Imagine if people’s beliefs made them happy, made a difference, but didn’t make them into a noisy bigot or a terrorist?
Imagine if people enjoyed doughnuts, chocolate and takeaways, but were then careful on the other days so they didn’t get really ill?
Imagine if people enjoyed a drink or two but didn’t feel the need to have a skinful and end up in the hospital?
Imagine if people didn’t jump into bad relationships or treated their partners badly, but they were fun sometimes, serious other times and were a little more steady? Everyone likes a bit of romance and the occasional surprise but ‘Steady Eddie’ beats ‘Krazy Keith’ in long-term relationships any day.
Moderation is a lost key to happiness and success.
I study people and why they do what they do. And as the world gets a little crazier and we get exposed more and more to the extremes of life, we need some moderation.
I’m not saying let’s all be boring, I’m just being honest. Oh, and I believe in excellence too, I want to be excellent in what I do and how I live, but I won’t bow down to, or promote perfectionism or extreme behaviour.
Moderation certainly isn’t fashionable, but it might be just what we need right now.
What do you think?
Throughout my summer, I always enjoy having a different routine and a bit more space to think, with fewer talks to prep. So, I’ve been thinking and planning about lots of stuff – work, life, and how untidy the loft is. All of this occurred during weeks of holiday/family time/dog sitting, with some sporadic bits of work, both in and out of the loft!
Here’s how some of those thoughts linked together, please do read on, you will find them useful honest!
Joined up thought one: The weather
Like many, I enjoyed the summer warmth, and even though I did have a fan surgically attached to me for a few days – I still enjoyed the break from our normal damp English climate. But then it all changed, the jet stream moved south and all of a sudden our summer was mainly us looking at weather apps and the sky, thinking, should we, shouldn’t we? Then on the 19th August, I had a revelation – it was one that no local weather presenters will like. I now think that they don’t know what’s going to happen more than 2 hours ahead!
We’ve been watching weather apps and we even made decisions to go out or stay in for some summer activities. We even postponed a trip to Malham because the weather looking horrific. But on that day when we stayed at home, it didn’t even rain! Yep, they haven’t got a clue! We can spend ages looking and sometimes obsessing with the weather, the most oddly British of all our quaint pastimes. I can also guarantee that in the next few days the tabloids will report both a very rainy and a very sunny September! They always do.
So as Billy Connolly says “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. I for one will be spending less time trying to guess where the moving target of the weather will be this coming year and just go with it…
Joined up thought two: The moving target of happiness
I came across a short video from Nadia Bolz-Weber on Facebook who said:
“Many of us are tormented by our ideal self versus our actual self. Between our ideal income and our actual income. Our ideal personality and our actual personality. Our ideal weight and our actual weight. But here’s the thing. No one has ever become their ideal self. It’s a moving target. It’s this mirage of water in a desert. You spend all your energy trying to get to it—and that just creates more thirst.”
This wonderful quote is a real challenge to us all and particularly to the self-help and self-development industry, that, at its worse can actually make people feel more unhappy with themselves and their lives*. When I’m doing my “motivational talks” (a title that I’ve never been happy with because of its often unreal and fluffy unicorn like connotations!) I always try to research what I say well, not give false hope, but teach the proven down-to-earth stuff that will genuinely help us all to “Get Good”, in both senses.
This quote was a reminder to me to always encourage people to enjoy the journey and in their loud and quieter moments be comfortable in their own skin, knowing that they are enough as they are, but also can develop too. A tricky balance to get right, for sure…
Joined up thought three: A more realistic target we can all hit
And finally I did some research and found lots of target based diagrams useful for helping us to focus on what we can really change, so we can enjoy life and work more. So using the bare bones of an idea from the author Steven Covey and others I have designed my own target to put on your phone or wall.
When I showed it to some friends, some got it straight away and some immediately said: “Why have you put politics and government into the area of no control?!” So to clarify, I am a member of a mainstream political party and I sometimes even do some canvassing at election times. But even so, I know that my obsessing over politics in this country or abroad does not really change those situations. Sure I can vote once in a while, and campaign, but I only have a very limited influence on the government on a daily basis. So I’m not saying do not get involved in politics, but what I am saying is that we should spend more time and energy on our ‘area of control’ and not on what others think about us, the weather, the media, other peoples opinions on social media, our past and the current political climate.
Once we realise that idealism and perfection is a moving target we can never hit, we can learn to focus on what we can really influence and what really matters.
Then we can enjoy work more and focus on enjoying life.
Let me know what you think.
10 years in business for me = $1 or 99p books for you!
Thank you for journeying with me over the last 10 years 🙂
This weekend only! From Friday 6th April to midnight Sunday 8th April 2018 grab a bargain…
Get Good At Presenting: The No-nonsense Guide To Authentic And Engaging Public Speaking on ebook (epub)
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Getting Your Teenager Through Their Exams
PowerPoint Surgery: How to create presentation slides that make your message stick
Did you know that knowing lots of people can be bad for our health?!
Research says that on average we all know about 150 people. We have 3-5 close friends/family, then 15 people who are quite close to us, 50 people who are acquaintances and finally a large group who we know a bit and we just wave to in the street!
But because of social media now we can easily keep tabs on hundreds or even thousands of people, this is great in many ways but it also can bring us stress too. If our brain is only really designed to hold the tension of a handful of people, then keeping tabs on hundreds means that there is – always someone ill, always someone struggling, always someone having a tough day, always someone who hates their job. And the flip-side too – there is always someone having a great time, on a great holiday, got a better job and earning more money that us that day. And all this can happen when we are sat in our dressing gown feeling sorry for ourselves!
When I first started my job as a pro speaker I used social media to grow my business as I still do now. But in the early days of self employment it can be very quiet! You don’t get as much work as you’d like, as things have to grow and the word about you has to spread. So for me it became bad for me to see what I thought was that every other speaker and trainer I knew was working and I wasn’t! They all seemed to have bigger and better clients than me too. I think it really got to me for a while and certainly de-motivated me at times. It wasn’t good for me. So I made a few decisions and reminded myself that I was not seeing the world as it really was. Not everyone was working every day but because I followed 200 other speakers there would be always someone working but maybe 185 of them weren’t! But people rarely say online that they are doing nothing (unless it’s the old double hot dog leg shot from a foreign beach somewhere!).
When you have a “gig” based job like mine there is lots of marketing to do and contacts to make but there is also a part of my job where I’m waiting for the phone to ring or an email to arrive out of the blue. It’s just part of what I do. So I do still play the numbers game for business purposes but I also know that personally I should meaningfully connect to less, not more people and we should all of course choose those people very carefully.
We are designed to have a few really good friends not hundreds of vague acquaintances that always seem to be having more fun than us!
Don’t compare yourself to others
Watch the numbers that you connect with
(have an occasional cull and remember on Facebook you can stay ‘friends’ with people but ‘unfollow’ them and they will never know!)
Let’s learn to live a deeper life with fewer people rather than a shallow life with hundreds online.
We’d find life a whole lot less stressful I reckon.
Lee’s Education publisher Collins published this free guide written by him and put it into WHSmith and Waterstones for parents to takeaway – you can grab it free below too – no strings attached – just click the link, the cover or just “save as”…
Here are some of Lee’s free youtube videos for revision and exams too:
P.S. You can buy Lee’s books here.
A short video showcasing the content from Lee Jackson the popular school speaker and Collins author. Helping students do well at GCSE exams.
To book Lee for your school or college visit http://www.leejackson.biz
To buy Lee’s Collins GCSE Study skills book visit – http://www.collins.co.uk/product/9780…