Wellness Wednesday: Stressed out by too many meetings? You aren’t alone

January 6, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources, ,

If you find yourself filled with anxiety and stress thanks to too many meetings, you aren’t the only one. When faculty, staff and learners across Michigan Medicine were surveyed about what contributed to tension and burnout on the job, they cited too many meetings as one of the key stressors.

Fortunately, there are some simple tips that can reduce your meeting fatigue.

In response to the survey and similar feedback, the Stress + Burnout Task Team, commissioned by Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., developed a set of  tools to help employees better manage meetings, thereby saving time and reducing stress in their day to day work life.

Here are a few quick tips from those tools. 

  • When considering how to best manage your meetings, think first about how you can LIMIT unnecessary meetings.
    • Do you really need the meeting? Every meeting should have a stated goal.
    • Ensure the right people are invited. Do you have diverse perspectives at the table?
    • Could the meeting be shorter? Not every meeting has to be the traditional 60 minutes.
    • Schedule “me” desk time each week when meetings cannot be scheduled, at least a two-hour block is recommended.
  • Make sure ALL participants are PREPARED for meetings ahead of time. 
    • No agenda, no meeting.
    • Agendas should include a meeting goal, list of attendees, space to capture action items.
    • Share agenda, materials and pre-work at least 48 hours in advance.
    • Always provide call/video information.
    • Schedule carefully — consider holidays and timing of child care drop off/pick up.
  • Roles and expectations for PARTICIPATION should be clear, especially for virtual meetings.
    • Know your role, whether you are leading the conversation or capturing the meeting minutes. All roles are important and follow up is expected.
    • Be accountable! Everyone should be on time so the meeting can start on time, arrive prepared and stay engaged.
    • To support virtual attendees, clearly explain expectations, such as, should they unmute themselves or use the chat box? Also, the presenter should pause more often than you would during an in-person meeting to allow space for participants to engage.

For more meeting management tips, as well as how to pause and what to consider before planning meetings, visit the Managing Burnout and Stress Webpage.

Also watch for the next installment in the Wellness Wednesday series for tips on how to manage emails and further alleviate your stress and anxiety.