A common workplace problem is arriving late to meetings. This issue can cause so much anxiety that you can’t devote enough of your attention to the task at hand.
There’s an easy fix, though.
What a Difference 5 Minutes Can Make
Schedule your meetings to end five minutes before the hour or half-hour mark, and stick to that time frame. So if it’s typically a half-hour meeting starting at 10 a.m., book it from 10 a.m. to 10:25 a.m instead. The key is committing to this setup — you absolutely must conclude the meeting at 10:25 a.m.
Why is this beneficial?
1. It builds in a break for people, granting them five minutes until they have to tackle the next item on their schedule.
2. It accommodates late arrivals to meetings and calls.
If every meeting is scheduled back to back, you’re setting yourself up for failure. There is no way anyone is going to get to their next meeting on time, even if you’re in the same building or on the same floor.
If you schedule a meeting to end at 10:30 a.m. and have another meeting straight after, you’re already running behind. You need to pack up your things, prepare for the next meeting, and make your way there! Scheduling back-to-back meetings is essentially making a decision for people to be late to their next meeting. It’s a recipe for frustration for everyone involved.
Take Full Advantage of Your Break
Now, you might be wondering how this applies to breaks. Scheduling your meeting to end five minutes earlier may not offer you a huge break, but it does allow you time over the course of the day to breathe and decompress. It gives you a little bit of much-needed downtime.
There is a mindfulness aspect to this as well. If those attending the meeting are aware that it ends five minutes earlier, they will be less likely to feel anxious, look at the clock, and not pay proper attention.
The next break-related tip is straightforward: Move your body. I’m addressing this to those who spend much of their time sitting or not moving throughout the day. Think about moving your body — particularly in ways in which it hasn’t been moving.
Desk workers tend to hunch forward and suffer from what is called kyphosis. Also, if your body is doing one motion or is in one kind of position for an extended period of time, your body becomes imbalanced in various ways. Your muscles can become tight in one direction but not in the other. When you take your break, move your body in the opposite direction. Rotate your head around and shake it slowly.
Your specific workplace may have a designated ergonomics or stretching program. Here are some resources:
While life can get hectic as we shuffle around from meeting to meeting, it’s important to find the time — even just a few minutes — to breathe, relax, and move. It’s simple but very effective. Give it a shot and see how it feels.