Q: I struggle with finding time to recharge during the day since I’m usually stuck in back-to-back meetings. How can I find downtime when I’m on calls all day long?
A: It’s important for us to be mindful about our calendars. When we don’t pay attention to the time we have scheduled for ourselves, we can look up and suddenly we’re stuck on back-to-back calls. For example, I’m doing quite a few webinars every month. At one point, I was doing 15 webinars daily, and my voice was barely working by the end of the day. A couple months in, I realized I had to take better care of myself and my schedule, so I started prioritizing “Do Not Schedule” time, where I’d schedule a “DNS” window on my calendar. You have to prioritize that time, the world’s not going to do it for you. Now I’ll get ten or 15 minutes in between sessions to recover, get some water, or simply go to the bathroom.
There’s always going to be more meetings, so you have to be the one that sets those breaks up on your own calendar. You can also establish that time with your team. If you’re leading a meeting, you can say to your teammates, “we’re going to end five minutes early so that everybody has a break between this and the next call.”
Finally, if you know you have a full plate, remember that at some point you need to have a cutoff time. Don’t go until late at night to try to complete everything. You can’t make that happen, and if you do, you’ll risk burning out. Get what you need to get done, and declare an end to your day to give yourself time to relax, hang out with your family, or eat dinner with your partner. Whatever downtime looks like for you, make sure you’re getting that every day.