Sabriya Dobbins
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Virtual Mental Wellness Retreats Lead

While using technology has made some aspects of the workplace easier, employees may seem more accessible when technology is always at their fingertips—even if they aren’t available. With just two emails or a slack message, you’ll be on a Zoom call with no end in sight. 

Whether you work for a company or you’re in business for yourself, we all have the same 24 hours. Your precious time matters. I have found myself in one too many meetings for days at a time, all because I did not do my due diligence before the meeting.

One of the most frustrating things is to find yourself in a meeting that was a complete waste of time. You think to yourself, “This could have been an email.” If you are not careful, your day could end up completely drained. You may risk not completing some of your deliverables.

Despite the meeting dread, there are ways you can avoid the torrential downpour of meetings. It involves asking one simple question.

Ask the person you’re supposed to meet with: How can we ensure this meeting is fruitful for both of us, given our busy schedules? 

When you use word “how,” the person has to give you more than just a yes or no answer. They have to confirm the meeting is worth it for them too. They also have to think a bit more deeply about whether they are truly respecting your time or not. 

Sometimes, you both may conclude that the meeting is too premature, and emailing makes more sense for a while longer. Other times, you both may realize the meeting is the next best step in addressing your needs. Either way, it is a great way to set expectations and respect one other’s time. You’ll also clarify the type of value exchange that will occur and create room for you to reflect on how you want to spend your time.

There’s also a bonus question you can ask internally to ensure that you feel secure, prepared and confident for your meeting.

Ask yourself: Will this meeting bring me joy in some shape or form, even if it is delayed joy? 

Consider if will you gain something positive from this meeting, whether monetary, mentally, spiritually or emotionally. If you do not get that joy immediately, you must be close to certain you will receive the value later.

When you ask these questions externally and internally, remember that your time is a gift to others and vice versa. We have to be honest with ourselves to determine how much our time matters to us. If your time does not matter to you and you treat it cheaply, others will follow your example and treat you the same. The gift you are giving is sacred because your mental wellbeing and overall energy rely on how you distribute your time. I have found myself drained one too many times when I gave up my time for nothing. When you give up your time, give it up for joy.

It’s easy to get trapped in the cycle of meaningless meetings. However, with this external and internal question in your arsenal, you are more likely to exert control over your day. Trust me, you will be all the happier for it.

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This article was written by an FGB Contributor.

Sabriya Dobbins, award-winning Founder of Project Passport and Life Discovery Expert, graduated from North Carolina State University with dual bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science and Social Work. After experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks, she realized there needed to be a sacred space to help people with the “little things” before they become big things that result in breakdowns. Sabriya is the author of the wellness blog Living Life Full Force and has certifications in Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Techniques Coaching, Neurolinguistics Practitioner-style Coaching, and many other disciplines. As a Master Life Coach and Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Candidate, she innovated a unique style of serving clients based in experiential and preventative mental wellness.

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