I have been writing about the new vitamin I discovered, Vitamin P. You might not have heard about it yet, but lack of this vitamin might be EXACTLY what's troubling you! Vitamin P (for people!) is needed to keep our energy rolling and our ideas flowing. In its absence, we fall into a state of lassitude.
At the beginning of lockdown, back in March 2020, we were all glad that "at lease we have Zoom." By now, we're over Zoom, and all I hear is "I want things to go back to normal -- Zoom isn't cutting it for me!"
I say that this is a moment for deeper reflection. On the one hand, the desire to rush around -- which is what "normal" was for most of us -- is winning the day. On the other hand, the Delta variant is still out there -- tragically we just passed the mark of 1 in 500 Americans having died of Covid.
The rational response is to take it a bit slow -- let's accumulate some data and slowly add activities, rather than opening everything at once. (Not that Americans are rational.)
Part of the rational response is to reflect on what we've learned about Zoom, including posing the question, "Can Zoom give us Vitamin P?" If Vitamin P is a pheromone that we have to smell, then the answer is "no." But if Vitamin P is new ideas that get our minds working, then the answer is "Yes, if we use it creatively."
Some of the things I've seen make Zoom fun and invigorating are:
- Keeping the segments short. I love it when people use the Pomodoro Technique to work in 25 minute segments, punctuated by 5 minute breaks. Doctors are saying that we shouldn't sit for more than 20 minutes, so the Pomodoro Technique is a natural for standing up and moving a bit -- helps butt and brain!
- Having fun check-in questions. Questions can cover a huge gamut of options, from silly to tragic. These small sharings build connection and add humanity. Check-ins are not good for groups larger than 15 though, so this as limits.
- Using break-out rooms. I asked a group of doctors to reflect on my model of Main Street as a metaphor for the organization of a hospital. I was actually shocked at what a great job they did in the breakout rooms, using this metaphor and identifying lots of areas of social organization that might need attention. They were attentive to my lecture, but they made something of it in the breakout part.
- Having people turn their cameras on. Not everyone can have cameras on all the time, but the more the merrier is a real thing in a Zoom room.
- Accepting that Zoom is what it is. It's not a walk in the park. But it is a great tool for connection, and one we are just learning how to use. Like many other parts of life that not all we want, we have to learn to accept and even have gratitude. Every time you want to complain about Zoom, take a moment to imagine this: we went into lockdown and there was NO videoconferencing.