Are you staring down the barrel of a million work meetings this week? No matter how important they are, meetings can be boring, drag out and make even the most focused worker sleepy.
For many employees, this is the busiest time of the year. The last thing you need is the usual five weekly meetings to slow you down and make you sleepy.
Aside from taking you away from the work you need to do, meeting after meeting can get boring fast and you may find yourself fighting daydreams, sleep or insanity.
But how do you stay focused (or at least alert) during work meetings when you have what feels like hundreds between now and the end of the year?
Bring a notebook
You probably always bring a notebook, but how much do you actually use it in meetings? Actively take bullet point notes throughout to keep your brain focused on what’s being said.
Even if not every point is relevant to you, it’s still worth jotting down a few buzzwords. The more you’re actively listening to jot down important points, the less likely your mind is to wander off.
Prepare some questions
If you know what the meeting is about, think about some talking points or questions to ask yourself. Even if it’s minimal input, your brain is more likely to focus when it’s seeking information.
Giving your brain time to think about the meeting in advance will also keep it more focused on what’s being said when you’re in there.
This one is especially important if you think the meeting is going to be long or if it’s right before lunch and you’re liable to get hungry.
Bring a snack for a little energy boost if you’re feeling sluggish, or to quell a rumbling tummy. Water is also good to stay alert and if you’re particularly bored, regular sips of water will give you something to do and stop you from nodding off.
Keep calm and carry on
Some meetings might bring on feelings of dread rather than boredom, depending on what they’re about.
Stress can affect the rest of your work day, so it’s a good idea to take a few minutes before the meeting for some mediation or controlled breathing to stay attentive.
Use the downtime
Most meetings come with a series of lulls or breaks; be it while a presentation is taking time to load, a laptop is being switched on or you’re waiting for everyone to come in. Use this time to doodle on your notebook or actively think about something other than work.
It can be difficult, especially if you’re making small talk with colleagues while you’re all waiting together, but a few minutes’ break from work will keep your brain active during even the most boring meetings.
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