Have you been experiencing what we call “Zoom Fatigue?”
Whether you have been working from home even before COVID-19, or you had to pivot due to COVID-19, you likely have to spend part of, if not ALL of your work day on Zoom, or another video meeting application.
I’m not sure about you, but I never expected the exhaustion and state of fatigue that comes directly after even ONE video call. So, it got me wondering...why does this happen?
Oftentimes, in a video conferencing program, you are prompted with videos of everyone, including yourself, which can be extremely draining.
Even if you are the most confident person in the world, it can be a little nerve-wracking to look at yourself all day long. This can also stir up self-consciousness about how others perceive you as well.
Think of it this way, if you were having that same exact meeting in person rather than on Zoom, would you be looking towards a projector screen, and be focused on that rather than your own appearance?
Or would your attention be turned towards a speaker, presenter, or manager, rather than everyone’s faces? When you are in a meeting in person, it’s likely that you (and everyone else) is focused on the front of the room, maybe your boss is running a meeting, or you are viewing a presentation.
Even in those types of in person meetings, everyone CAN see each other, however, their attention is focused on a central point in the front (like a projector or main speaker).
On Zoom, you can see yourself, your colleagues/other participants, AT ALL TIMES. Even if someone is sharing their screen, you can still see everyone on the side panel.
It takes a lot of emotional energy to manage the distress inside around this new dynamic. So, of course you’re exhausted by this!
Not to mention that on Zoom or any other video conferencing platform, you might feel like you have to make more of an overt effort to appear interested and to “prove” you’re paying attention.
Because you are online, you kind of have to replace in person non-verbal cues that would suggest that you are being attentive, with things such as intense listening and long sustained eye contact.
Another reason why you may be feeling a little anxious during a Zoom meeting is because of your surroundings. If you have children, what if the kids run in? Or if you have roommates, what if someone knocks on your door? What if the dogs start barking at a squirrel when your mic is on?
Because of the lack of separate work space, your home life and work life are more mixed up and intertwined than ever. You certainly never had to consider any of these things if you were taking meetings in an office or coffee shop. It takes a lot of energy to manage boundaries like this.
And then of course, there’s the whole technology thing.
If you haven’t already experienced some sort of delay on a Zoom meeting (in which case your internet speed must be crazy fast!!!), you probably will at some point.
Silence is a natural part of conversations in person, however, in a Zoom meeting, if it suddenly goes silent, I know my first thought is, “Am I frozen?” Having to constantly worry about this is definitely another stressor.
So what can you do to reduce this fatigue? The first suggestion I have is to reduce any unnecessary meetings (Hello, “could’ve been an email!”).
If you have the flexibility to do so, I would also recommend spacing your Zoom meetings out throughout the week, so you don’t have to sit in front of your computer for an entire day experiencing these frustrations or anxieties related to Zoom.
My last recommendation is to consider phone calls for certain meetings. Not everything has to be on video! This will at least take some of the pressure off of you, you don’t have to worry about looking a certain way or freezing on screen, and you can even take a call while you go on a walk and enjoy some fresh air.
Whether you have 5 Zoom meetings a day or 1 a week, I hope you have a little bit better understanding of why these meetings can be so draining, and walk away with some tips to help you reduce “Zoom Fatigue”.
But above all else, I hope that you can be gentle with yourself. You’re still adjusting to this new way of life. You’ve never been in this situation before, so you’re not supposed to know how to live it perfectly.
Stay safe, be well.
If you’ve been reading my email newsletters from the past couple of weeks, you can probably tell that I don’t support the idea that we have to be “on” 24/7, and that taking time for ourselves is absolutely crucial.
You don’t have to turn every single hobby into a side hustle, and you should absolutely be taking time for yourself outside of your work.
However, I do believe that we can do things that are work-adjacent to further improve our skills, network with similar businesses, and be the first to know about trends and updates our industry.
Not only will this learning benefit you, oftentimes, they can be FUN!
When you put so much pressure on yourself to be “on” all the time, it can be easy to lose interest in your business or job and lose the passion that led you to start it in the first place.
With all the global availability to learning via the internet, there are a variety of learning opportunities for you to explore!
One of my favorites is to attend virtual conferences/summits. These are typically multiple day virtual events with speakers who are subject matter experts in your industry, and they usually have other networking components like a Facebook group, to connect with other professionals.
A perfect example of this was our recent Building & Scaling Your Virtual Team summit, with 25+ experts speaking on different topics related to maximizing your virtual team and business. If you missed it, you can still watch the entire summit HERE!
No matter what type of conference or summit you choose, these events are a wonderful opportunity to connect with like minded individuals and learn from the experts.
Some may be live webinars and some may allow you to watch them on-demand, at your own pace. Also, since everything is virtual due to COVID-19, you can network like a pro from the comfort of your own home!
Another thing we can do during this time is work on our professional skills.
No matter what industry you are in, there is surely a variety of skills you can brush up on or begin learning to continue your personal development journey.
If you’re a great copywriter, maybe take a class on the basics of graphic design. If you build websites, maybe a class on learning more about marketing and branding your services would be useful.
Skillshare is a great resource to start with, and they have hundreds of classes that you can take using their Free tier.
I fully support life-long learning and these things can help you become a more well-rounded professional.
I encourage you to take part in some sort of continued learning during this time, even if it is just 30 minutes a week. Let’s start to redefine what “being productive” feels like.
No matter what you choose, I wish you the best in your journey and endeavors!
Here's To Your Growth,
These days, it can be much more difficult to focus when there is so much going on in the world. It can even be incredibly frustrating when you feel overwhelmed with information, news, and so many crises going on in the world at the same time.
When there are more distractions than ever, how can we really get “in the zone” when it comes to our work or other tasks we may be pursuing?
My first recommendation is to limit your screen time.
If you have an iPhone, it is super easy to set a time limit for yourself for how much screen time you want to be spending on certain apps, and you can even whitelist certain apps that you do need access to at all times.
So, if you want to be done with social media by 7pm every night but want to ensure you can always access your email, it’s incredibly easy to set those limits in your phone.
My second recommendation is to ensure you have a dedicated work space, if possible, in your home.
As tempting as it is to stay comfy in bed while working from home, this can be very confusing for your brain, and may cause your brain to associate work with your bed, and make it more difficult for you to actually fall asleep in your bed.
By having a separate work space (ideally not in your bedroom either), you are able to have a place where you can really focus and create more of a separation between work and personal life, at home.
My last recommendation is to schedule breaks.
Seriously, put “Break 1:30-2:00” or however long you feel is right, in your calendar.
Especially if you are an entrepreneur, it is so easy to start working at 8am in the morning and then look up and see an entire day has passed you by. This can cause us to become extremely burned out, feel resentment towards our jobs/businesses, and just feel unmotivated.
By scheduling breaks in your calendar, you will ensure that you have dedicated time to relax.
Whether your break includes watching videos, going for a walk, or spending time with your pets or working on a hobby, you will give your brain the time it needs to recharge and gain focus for when you do get back to work.
These things can heavily affect our focus and productivity, and during this time it is extremely important to remember to take care of ourselves, and do what is right for our bodies and minds.
Here's To Your Aliveness,
7 months into the global pandemic, the entire world, no matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, is facing a completely unprecedented situation every single day. This far into the pandemic, there is very little chance that you haven’t been affected in some way.
I’m sure you’ve seen the two sides to this coin. In fact, there seems to be two very conflicting mindsets that are being discussed a lot on many platforms, no matter what industry you are in.
On one side of the coin, there is the opinion that you should not hold yourself to the same standard as last year. Don’t compare your sales numbers from this year to last year; this year has had so many external factors that may have affected that number that you just can’t compare.
Why should we expect the same level of productivity when the circumstances are completely different?
On the other hand, there is the opinion that with the shift to work from home, with no commute, except the 5 minute walk from the bedroom to the office, we have more time.
Which for some people, leads them to believe we should be more productive overall.
So, what I am curious about is, why does it have to be one or the other?
Why can’t there be a happy middle between being realistic and flexible with your own expectations of productivity and utilizing some extra time you may have due to working from home.
I mean, if you think about it, everyone’s situation is vastly different.
As a parent, sure you don’t have a commute anymore, but now you might have to get the kids ready and set up for online school, possibly handle working from home while watching the kids, assisting them with their school work, etc.
Aside from unique situations like this, I think there is a happy middle we can discuss without playing into hustle culture.
With no commute, let’s say your commute is 1 hour one way, x 2 times per day, x 5 days per week. That is a whole 10 hours a week. Do you need to use that time to start a side hustle or a brand new venture? Absolutely not.
It is certainly an option, but you could also use that extra time to be productive on something that is work-adjacent. Which is another way to say self car or professional development!
Maybe you could use that time to get that wonderful home office finally completed.
Perhaps with these 10 extra hours a week, you finally get started exercising regularly or building in more stress-relieving activities.
Or you could use that time to learn a skill that could benefit you in your industry. You could also utilize that time to read blogs in your industry, listen to podcasts, or webinars to brush up on any skills in demand in your area.
The bottom line is, it is true that if you’re working from home when you previously had a long commute, you do have more hours in a week, give or take.
However, to be productive you don’t always have to start a giant project. Sometimes productivity increases by turning inward and investing in your own wellness, personally or professionally.
Bottom line is that you can still be productive without completely burning yourself out.
It’s time to start taking care of yourself. That’s how you’re going to come out on the other side of this stronger than ever.
Here's To Your Success,
A few weeks ago, we sent out an email about how to successfully motivate members on your team based on their MBTI.
We even did an entire two week summit jam packed with tips from 25+ speakers on growing and scaling your team. P. S. If you missed it, you can still watch the entire summit HERE!
But what are you doing to ensure your own personal development and growth?
Whether it be signing up for a webinar series, networking with other professionals, or just prioritizing your own success, it’s very important to not leave yourself out when it comes to growing and scaling your team.
Many of you are business owners and entrepreneurs, and if there is one thing I know to be true about you, it’s that you are BUSY.
You’re running the entire show, oftentimes doing the role of multiple people to start your dream business. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and I commend you for your hard work and dedication to your business, sometimes it’s necessary to just step back for a moment.
Have you ever had a moment when you realized that you have put your own personal development and growth on the backburner? I sure have...
Here are some things to keep in mind and get back on track.
Remember that personal development looks different for everyone. There’s no specific steps you need to follow, it is quite literally your own personal journey.
It can be easy to look at a friend or colleague and think they are at the top of their game (and they may as well could be, which is amazing for them!) and then begin to compare yourself:
Why aren’t I at that stage in my business yet? Why is my audience not growing at the same rate? What is stopping me from growing and scaling like my colleague with a similar business?
Stop. Deep breath.
What works for them may not work for you, and it goes both ways. Personal development also takes time.
It’s so easy to see another person’s journey, take some action steps, and wonder why you aren’t seeing immediate success. Again, this is not a one size fits all type of thing.
Your own development will be your own journey. No matter what stage you are at in your own personal development, try to remember that comparing yourself to others does not move you forward in your journey.
I wish you success in your personal development path.
Here's To Your Success,
Whether you are a business owner or not, work life balance is one of the hardest things to achieve and maintain. As we have become more and more technologically advanced, it has become much more difficult to make that separation from work and personal lives.
What is true is that having more channels of communication is a great thing, and it makes certain things much easier to get done. However, it tends to set up this perception that if we have a phone in our hands, we are “on”.
Especially since the shift towards working from home, this distinction has become even more blurred.
It is incredibly convenient to have the luxury of taking your laptop and working from different places, and check notifications when it is convenient for us, but it is a fine line between doing those things for our convenience and having that become the standard.
Oh, look it’s 4:59pm, and I just got another email! I might as well answer it...then it’s 5:30pm and you’re still writing your reply. Have you ever had this experience?
It’s amazing that you want to go the extra mile, however, when we start going the extra mile every single time...we begin to set that extra mile as our normal routine, which means we are pressured to always achieve more and more.
To be clear, being highly motivated and ambitious is a bad thing - not at all! It’s just when it becomes the only option that it starts to become problematic.
You know, when it becomes nearly impossible to turn it off and put work down. Plus, to do that all the time is just not sustainable long-term not to mention that it takes a tremendous toll on our health and well-being.
There is always more to be done. Sometimes, bosses can get caught up in this idea that you have to work at 200% 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then, when you are successful, you can take it down a notch.
Don’t buy into this mentality.
If you are working yourself to death day in and day out, you will eventually get so burned out that you may just quit your job altogether, and find a less demanding position. However, if you prioritize your work-life balance, you will be happier, and even more productive because you won’t be so stressed out all the time!
I mean it folks, take some time to reflect on this. Your physical and mental health is so important, especially during stressful times. It can be easy to go into “go, go, go” mode, but it really is better for you in the long run to find a healthy balance.
Here's To Your Success,
Have you ever finished a big project and had every single person on your team just feel burned out and unmotivated to tackle the next task?
I know I’ve been there.
My team and I just finished up a two week virtual summit jam-packed full of industry leaders and top business experts teaching you how to grow and scale your virtual and remote teams. It was a lot of work and turned out absolutely fantastic! P.S. if you missed it, you can still watch the entire summit HERE!
While it’s important to keep things moving in your business, sometimes it can feel like starting the next task would be like running uphill with a backpack full of rocks.
So how do you motivate your team when you’re feeling a little bit of collective burnout?
Sometimes as business owners, we get a little bit of tunnel vision, and we go a mile a minute, forgetting that not everyone is on the same page. It’s important to recognize that what motivates you may not seem motivating to everyone else.
What I have found to be the most effective way to approach this is to motivate each team member according to their unique MBTI preferences.
The secret to success is that it all starts with people. An effective approach to motivation is not a “one size fits all”.
If you'd like to learn more about motivating each personality type based on their individual preferences, check out my video: Motivation & Personality Type: How to Keep Moving For Life!
If you have a team full of INFPs, you will have to motivate them differently than a team full of ESTJs.
For example, INFPs are highly imaginative, and live in such a rich inner world. However, sometimes they live so much in their inner worlds that it can be difficult to transfer that energy into external motivation. Sometimes they get stuck bringing their inside ideas outside.
So, some of the best ways to motivate an INFP would be to give them the opportunity to emulate someone that they enjoy being around and respect. Also, giving them plenty of time alone to regroup as well as a lot of flexibility in their schedules that allows them room for change are highly motivating to an INFP.
ESTJs, on the other hand, are constantly trying to get things done, and genuinely enjoy accomplishing tasks. However, if an ESTJ is not feeling motivated, it may be because they feel their efforts are not getting any real results or the task at hand is chaotic or inefficiently presented.
So, the best way to motivate an ESTJ team member would be to be clear about what is expected of them. Help them get started, but don’t overwhelm them with too much information at one time.
Also, because they have an Extroverted preference, they need stimulation and interaction with people to be productive. Create an environment that allows for this and you’ll get an ESTJ to thrive!
Collective burnout is something that affects every organization.
As a business owner and leader, it is especially effective when you notice that members on your team are feeling burnt out, causing the entire team to just feel generally unproductive.
Have conversations, find out what’s going on and then get everyone back on track by using motivational techniques that best fit their personality preferences.
Raising your bottom line all starts with people.
Here's To Your Success,
Since many of us have been working remotely for at least 6 months due to COVID-19, working remotely isn’t necessarily a “new” thing anymore.
However, the hottest topic recently has been, how will the workforce look post COVID-19? Will employers allow more or all of their employees to work from home? Will they go straight back into the office?
Interestingly, I have been working with my teams remotely for over 2 years, and it’s been going great. Ever since the beginning.
Sure, it can sometimes be difficult to coordinate with different time zones, but if working remotely works efficiently for your team, you are able to communicate well, and people are generally happier, why wouldn’t you do it?
For the newest generation, they are PROS at this whole remote working and learning thing.
They had to pivot in a split second to have school, work, or even both completely remote. But for those of us who were so accustomed to the traditional office life, it’s a bit more of a transition.
Whether you are an employee or a business owner, you will need to adapt to the new remote workforce at some point or another. In fact, it has become clear that some companies will prioritize and adapt to the remote workforce, having no plans to return to the “traditional” office. Twitter, Facebook, and Google have announced extended work from home policies.
So, how do you plan accordingly?
If you are a business owner, you now have access to talent across the globe. Maybe you live in a small town and weren’t able to find a good fit (in office) to manage your social media accounts the way you would like them to be managed.
Check this out: with this new shift in the traditional work paradigm, you now have an entire new pool of applicants that you could draw from if you are open to remote work!
Yes, the transition to remote working becoming the norm will continue to take a little bit of adjusting.
As a business owner, you may want to play around with a couple of project management tools and establish a good channel of communication with your team. While certain productivity tools work great for some, each one works differently for everyone, it’s just whatever works best for you!
Another important consideration when establishing a permanently remote workforce, is to establish boundaries early on with your teams.
As a business owner, having plans and policies in place around things such as what times do you expect your employees to be online? Do you have hard time requirements for being online, or do you just expect them to get their work done, no matter when they choose to work on it?
And going along with that, what are expectations for messages after hours? These are all really important expectations to set with remote work, because remotely working can often blur the lines between work and personal life.
And what goes the distance in anything is including everyone in these conversations. The way to retain talent is to be flexible and accommodating when possible.
Whether you are a recent graduate who is extremely familiar with remote working or a brick and mortar business owner trying to pivot online, we will all need to continue to adapt to the world of remote working, to some degree.
Either way, it will definitely be interesting to see how the working world transforms over the next few years!
Here's To Your Success,
So...if you are considering bringing on internal team members to your business or if you are outsourcing, I want to be the first to say “congratulations”!
It’s so exciting when your business is successful enough that you need extra help. But, with that comes a little bit of a challenge. For many of us, our business is our baby.
There is that saying, “Entrepreneurs will work 100 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours for someone else.” When you’re SO passionate about your business, it can be extremely difficult to let go or hand off parts of it to others, even if it’s just a small task, like writing email newsletters.
In order to be a truly successful business owner, you need to learn how to trust others with your business, even if it seems difficult at first. I mean, I completely understand.
My business is my passion, and when you’re so involved in something from the beginning it almost seems like no one else in the world could do things the way you do them. But you are just one person - you cannot handle it all.
That is why finding the “rite” people to add to your team is so important!
When we talk about the “rite” type in the workplace, we are typically discussing how MBTI types have different preferences in the workplace and how these preferences play out. Another incredibly important consideration when growing your own business and looking to bring in additional help, is making sure that you find the “rite” person not just for the job, but also for your workplace culture and the interactions that take place.
Do you get along with the person? Is it a natural connection? Do they seem excited about your business? Does it seem like they will thrive in the environment and style you’ve created for your business?
While you should absolutely be assessing them on their skills and abilities, an interpersonal fit is just as important. While it’s not necessary to seek out a specific type, think about how closely you will be working with this person and whether or not you like being around them. It can be difficult to work with or trust another person if your work styles clash and naturally create a conflict.
These are some questions you can ask when considering to add someone to your team:
Now, I am by no means a hiring expert. But it is very important to ask these sorts of questions when considering adding someone to your team because if you prefer one way of doing things and they prefer the opposite, it is naturally going to cause conflict and reduce productivity on the job.
Handing off parts of your business to a stranger can be a big step. Taking a holistic and comprehensive approach to hiring will give you the tools to find someone that you can build trust with and that will help you succeed in your business ventures.
Here's To Your Success,
Whether you have been working with your team remotely for 6 months or 6 years, time management when working online can be such a difficult thing to master.
For me, time management doesn’t just mean prioritizing all my tasks, it also means getting what I need to get done while also setting boundaries.
I’m sure you’ve seen the news articles that say, “On average working from home means 3 more hours on the job” (Source: Bloomberg) While I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that, it can definitely feel like you are perceived to be available for many more hours.
Alright let’s back up a little bit. First let’s discuss managing your tasks when you work online.
If you’re a business owner, you probably have a mile long to-do list. So how do you get through it all?
I recommend project management tools, such as Slack, Trello, or Asana. Each tool has its own pros and cons, but they all allow you to put your tasks into categories and make lists of what needs to get done. These tools can also help you delegate tasks to your team.
I’m a firm believer that the best way to manage your time is to have an organized plan of what you want to get done each day, and who you want to get it done.
As a leader, it can be tough to manage doing your own work and approving/reviewing your team members' work, but it will be easier for everyone if expectations are set from the start. The more specific the instructions you give, the less time you need to provide your team member to answer follow up questions or clarifications.
Obviously, it’s a little unrealistic to expect your team members to understand all of their tasks with zero questions, ever. But if you go out of your way when you are delegating tasks to them to make sure they are clear on what they need to do, it will save you time in the future.
Another important aspect of time management is setting boundaries. When you’re working from home, people tend to naturally think of you as more available and accessible, especially considering all of the forms of communication that exist today.
In the online business community, there is often a “hustle, hustle, hustle” mentality. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious and driven, but it can be harmful to equate success with working all day every day.
When you are a business owner, you often set your own hours. You can work 30 hours a week, or you can work 70. If you manage your business online, while you may feel obligated to be as available as possible, it’s very important to set boundaries for your availability online.
This will save your sanity. I promise.
It may not feel like a big deal to answer a quick text or email after hours, but feeling that constant obligation to work can take a big toll over time. Work with your team early on to establish boundaries, and make sure everyone identifies any time they will be on “do not disturb” to avoid any miscommunication in the future.
Working remotely can be amazing, and by honing in on those time management skills and establishing online availability boundaries, you will set you and your team up for success.
Here's To Your Success,
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.