MHAW: No-Meetings Day

Just a pop-up idea: I’m gonna add no-meetings days in between weekdays.

Meetings used to be great:

  • Meet people in person.
  • Get to know them.
  • Increase team bonding and partnership relationships over meetings.

Human interaction is essential, especially in physical form. The good old days of the meeting were over when people is getting busier than ever before.

I found myself struggling in the meeting countlessly during my white-collar time. There were days that I had to join those meetings from 08:00 AM to 10:00 PM with all departments for… nothing. Bad leadership, lousy management, you can tell. The only outcome from whole day-long meetings: I felt drained and unproductive. I absolutely had no time for processing my thoughts and concentrating on my ideas.

In Vietnam, people love traveling to see or to meet others in person. This behavior is a part of village culture which built up thousands of years ago, I do not against it, I love it sometimes, and an in-person meeting is amazing. However, let’s be realistic. The meeting duration could be only 1 hour or even less, but the commute time could be up to 2 – 3 hours for two-way. Traffic jams, unpredictable weather, and unnecessary hassle can cause inner stress. Inner stress can slowly lead people to depression.

I’ve learned from my humble experience and started to set personal rules in a way that I believe could benefit my productivity level and mental health:

Rule 01: At least 1 no-meeting day during weekdays/working days. For example, Thursday would be my no-meeting day. I notify my clients, partners, and colleagues if there is no emergency, please do not schedule meetings on Thu. My emergency definition is: if we do not meet, how terrible the situation could be? 

Rule 02: The default setting for meeting duration is 15 minutes (for internal) and 30 minutes (for external). The virtual meeting would be my preferable option, I take in-person meeting requests case by case.

Rule 03: If I need to travel to meetings at multiple places, I’d like to make sure all meeting places are nearby – or, ideally, at the same location or within walkable distance.

I hope this article helps you a bit. See you next week!

Mental Health At Work is published every Monday to raise awareness about inner stress, slowly depression, silent struggles at work in the modern era.

Of course, by Ngân Sâu