Wellness Wednesday: What can you do in 10 minutes or less?
In a recent blog post, Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D, issued a well-being challenge for everyone to change their one-hour meetings to a standard 50 minutes, allowing for a needed break between meetings and other work activities.
But what can you do in 10 minutes or less?
Recharge? Pause and reflect? Refocus for your next meeting or activity? Reassess your priorities? Improve your mood? Rethink an objective? Grab a snack? Take a walk? Check your socials? Change your outlook?
All of the above. Sound crazy? Not really.
New research by Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index shows that stealing just a few minutes of time between activities can make a big difference in reducing stress due to work overload.
“Our executive office implemented a 10-minute pause between meetings and this had a positive impact on my overloaded schedule,” Runge said. “Considering the amount of burnout and stress we have all been feeling due to the pandemic, I felt it was important to recommend this opportunity to our entire community. It’s surprising how such a small amount of time can make such a big difference.”
So what can YOU do in 10 minutes or less?
The Michigan Medicine Stress + Burnout Task Team, commissioned by Runge, wants to know.
To provide your suggestions, complete this simple form. (You may need to use your level 1 password. The survey may work best in Google Chrome.) You’ll be entered into a raffle for the chance to win a prize. Responses will be compiled in a future Wellness Wednesday article, and may also become part of the Pause Toolkit developed by the task force. This toolkit also includes helpful information on how to reduce emails and hold more effective meetings.
Recommendations from the task force
To start the conversation, some task force members shared their insights below.
Carolyn Cole-Brown, associate chief operating officer, UH Medical, Emergency and Psychiatric Services:
“I often do a ‘3 by 2 priorization.’
- 2 minutes: Sit and let your mind settle into focus, calm and clarity
- 2 minutes: Consider most important priorities for the day
- 2 minutes: Plot priority activities into calendar.”
Rose Glenn, chief communication and marketing officer:
“I will pause and do neck rolls, yoga stretches or put a heated wrap around my neck. If it’s warm, I walk out on my deck and get a good dose of sunshine.”
Michaella Baker, project intermediate manager, general pediatrics:
“I take micro breaks throughout the day to pause, step away from my computer and stretch my legs. I’ll go refill my water bottle or check on my cat, Luna. If it is a nice day, I’ll step outside to get a few breaths of fresh air or if I have time go for a quick walk. This allows me a moment to check in with myself and make sure I’m meeting my own needs.”
Dana Habers, co-chair, COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutics Taskforce, interim chief operating officer, Department of Pharmacy Services:
“When I look at my calendar, I look back at the previous day and ahead a couple days — not just focusing on what is in front of me but briefly acknowledging what I’ve tackled. This tactic has helped me gain a sense of continuity, progress, and confidence that just focusing on the mountain of work before me fails to instill. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel capable!”
Jane Pettit, director of programming, Organizational Learning:
“I try to get two 10-minute walks in during the day through my neighborhood. Stepping away from my computer gives me time to think more clearly, burn off excess energy and breathe in a little fresh air. I always return to my computer refreshed and with a new perspective on my work.”
How the Well-Being Challenge works
The Health Information Technology & Services (HITS) team recently upgraded to Microsoft 365. As part of the upgrade, employees can set up a scheduling default in Outlook that shortens one-hour meetings to 50 minutes, creating a space for 10-minute breaks.
Knowing that, on occasion, a meeting must run long, there is an option to change the default when needed (see this Outlook support page). You can also use these instructions to reduce half-hour meetings to 25 minutes.
Recognizing a 10-minute break between meetings isn’t a solution for everyone, Runge also issued the Pause for Well-Being Challenge to leaders throughout the organization to meet with their teams and determine the best way to give some time back to their team members who may feel overwhelmed. This could mean scheduling or prioritizing work differently, encouraging breaks in the Recharge Rooms, finding unique ways to connect with each other or utilizing these wellness resources.