Amy Elrod-Lahti
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HR Professional | Coach | Consultant/Advisor

We’ve all had those days: you open up your calendar and realize you are in back-to-back (to-back) meetings all...day...long. Getting to the end of the day is going to require resilience and fortitude. Here are a few tips for utilizing your “bridge time” between meetings. 

Spoiler alert: if you’re looking for ways to squeeze in another email, call or task into the two minutes you have between meetings, this article doesn’t have what you’re looking for. This article is about how to integrate self-care into your routine—two minutes at a time.

1. Walk outside (or at least look out a window to the outside).

Two minutes isn’t long enough to take the kind of long, immersive walk in nature I find refreshing to body and spirit, but a little bit of nature is better than nothing. If you can get outside, take a couple of deep breaths of fresh air. If all you can do is look out a window, focus in for a minute and notice the trees and the birds (or whatever happens to be living in the outdoor space you’re observing). Take a couple of deep breaths. Think of this like a one-minute meditation. It can help you mentally rebound before your next meeting. Even a short outdoor break can improve your work performance and creativity

2. Go to the bathroom.

You may be thinking, “I don’t need an article to tell me to go to the bathroom when I need to go; I learned that when I was three years old.” And you may be right! However, if you notice that you have more frequent bladder infections or experience bladder incontinence, you may need to pee more frequently. This past fall, I had my first experience with what my doctor told me is “overactive bladder.” I put myself on a “pee schedule” for a couple of weeks, and the problem resolved itself. But many women experience problems with their bladders (especially if you’re over 40 and/or have had a baby), and I can speak from experience—these issues can creep up on you until suddenly they’re really uncomfortable. Prioritize your urinary health and go to the bathroom when you have a break. 

3. Do a yoga pose.

Doing just one yoga pose for one minute can help stimulate blood flow and provide a partial “reset” that can help your energy level. You can pick a standing pose that’s easiest for you—warrior II, forward fold, chair pose, or even prayer pose are good choices, depending on your flexibility and comfort level (and maybe what clothes you’re wearing). I especially like to do a forward fold for a minute or two after a long day of conference calls as it helps me release “tech neck” tension in my neck and shoulders. If you don’t have a private office where you can do your pose, duck into a stairwell, supply closet, or even a bathroom—I know, not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as your favorite yoga studio. But it’s the movement, not the surroundings, that provide the energy boost. 

If you find yourself continually drained by back-to-back days of back-to-back meetings, consider how you might structure your calendar to build in some amount of time for yourself every day. Demands for your time will never stop; space will only appear in your calendar when you make the space. It’s completely legitimate for you to block off 30 minutes in your day for “you time,” where you can go to the bathroom, get outside, do a yoga pose, eat a meal that’s not a protein bar and otherwise engage in the self-care you need to keep yourself going. As I have told my high-achieving female clients for years: you cannot take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Time for renewal, rejuvenation and refreshment of the body, mind and soul is not a luxury; it’s essential. 

Instead of trying to figure out a way to cram more into your day, take a step back and figure out how to make space and time for yourself. Over the long term, that investment in yourself will pay off far more than sending another email or making another phone call. 

Have a question about making the most between meetings? Leave a comment to ask the Community!

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This article was written by an FGB Contributor.

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