Little before the pandemic hit as a self-ritual, I started practising “no laptops to meeting”. All I carried was a pen & notebook to meeting rooms. In my experience, I have only found laptops a considerable distraction over serving a useful purpose. Both as someone driving a meeting or as an attendee. That slack message or an email alert can wait. The urge to quickly browse the web between fillers is not worth it. Plus, It is an awful experience when you find others distracted on laptops only to reiterate once again or are the one distracting the meeting.
So “no laptops to meeting” was my way of making sure I can have 100% of my attention while in meetings. Only exceptions were:
- I am on-call
- I am the one presenting (because IT infra fragmentation)
I found that anything that would require a laptop could either be solved through a clear agenda or post-meeting action items. Ex: If you need to be referencing a chart, make it part of the deck or if you need to update a document, make it part of the post-meeting action item.
So, how do I achieve those same goals now that I am working from home? Here are a few things that I have been experimenting with:
- “Do not disturb mode” on mac—no notifications, whatsoever. Probably a no-brainer.
- Screen sharing for sharing context or asking for screen-share, where applicable.
- Have a conversation with teammates during those Zoom meeting fillers instead of navigating Twitter or the orange site. This can be hard to do depending on the comfort-level with small talks (I am terrible).
- Take notes on a fresh or an ongoing notes doc (if taking notes on a computer).
I plan on iterating over these as I come across what works well and not. So far, I have found these to be good enough that I don’t get distracted and can pay full attention to meetings. Sometimes even ending the meetings early :).