2020 Week 19


I realized this week that Zoom Exhaustion isn’t about Zoom (or Skype or Teams) per se, but about having meetings back-to-back-to-back all day every day. In the before-time, even with back-to-back meeting days, the meetings often wrapped up 10 minutes early so people could move to other rooms or buildings or campuses as needed for next meetings. Now, meetings start at 9:00am and run to 9:59:59am, followed by another meeting at 10:00:00am that runs to 10:59:00am etc. Not even a chance to stand up, never mind move, never mind being in a different location with different people. There is no downtime anymore, and that’s where the exhaustion comes from.

Tuesday, I realized I was actually being productive - plugging through stuff that I hadn’t had a chance to get to, with all of the meetings and meetings-about-meetings. I’d forgotten to remove the all-day blocks that I’d added to reserve Monday and Tuesday for our annual conference. The conference was cancelled/postponed, but the blocks remained. And I got some stuff done. I still had a few meetings, because some people go ahead and add me to meetings without a) checking with me first or b) checking my calendar first, but there were actual gaps of non-meeting time and it felt almost decadent.

Since the whole COVID response started in early March, I’ve taken 136 pages of notes, received 2750+ emails, sent 1200+ emails1, and have been in almost constant meetings with no real time to process that volume of information. No wonder this is so exhausting. I’ve still got stress-brain, and am struggling to remember things - dates, decisions, names, conversations, etc. Things like staring at my calendar and thinking “what’s my next meeting?” and going to launch Calendar. Then realizing it was already open. And I was looking right at it. This is complicated by the recent layoffs in IT. I just went through my People note2 and removed over half of my IT contacts because they no longer work at the university‚Ķ

I finally picked up batteries for our bathroom scale yesterday. I knew I’d gained weight over the last year, between treatment and being largely sedentary, and now being stuck at home and stress-eating and being almost entirely sedentary. 15 pounds in a year. Yikes.


  1. I actually counted. There were more emails, but I was able to delete them without having to do anything with them. The 2750+ was what was left over. ↩︎

  2. This was something I started a few years ago, to track key people that I work with from other units across campus. It feels like something an Old would do, but hey, I guess I am, and it works. ↩︎


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