Zoom Fatigue

“Zoom University” is a term many of us were quick to adopt, and (sadly) Zoom is something that isn’t going away this next semester. I know personally this increase in time online has led to Zoom fatigue, which is exhaustion caused by continuous video calls. While this isn’t an official diagnosis yet, psychologists do acknowledge that this condition is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society.

Since schedules have just been released and many of us are now faced with the reality of another semester of online lectures and meetings, I wanted to share some of the most useful tipis I have found for fighting Zoom fatigue.

  1. Always have an agenda. Nothing is worse than when you are on a call that seems aimless and just takes up time. Write out talking points ahead of meetings and don’t be afraid to get straight to the point. This will make things more efficient and productive. Also, do not be afraid to ask others who organize calls for an agenda.
  2. Avoid multi-tasking. I think we have all fallen into the pit of using our phones during a lecture and learning nothing presented in the hour. It is easy to do, especially if your camera is off. To help with this, I downloaded the app Forest so that I wouldn’t use my phone during lectures. I also found that taking hand-written notes of the material helped me to stay focused.
  3. Hide your own video from yourself. In a normal conversation, you can’t see your expression/reactions/what you are wearing, so it can be strange to see them on a video call. It can also lead to us paying more attention to ourselves and what we are doing than on the others in the call. You can use Zoom’s “hide myself” feature to see others, but not yourself on calls.
  4. Schedule phone calls or just email if you can instead. This can save both time and energy for everyone involved. Writing emails can also allow you to better develop your ideas before you share them.
  5. Most importantly, schedule free time for yourself! This past semester, I found myself filling every gap I had with meetings since they are easier to schedule virtually. It wasn’t uncommon for me to have 12 hours of back-to-back classes and meetings. Eventually, I learned to literally write free time, meals, chore time, etc. into my schedule. This way I had time to complete important tasks that were previously put on the back burner and have time to take care of myself.


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