In these days of remote work, we’re all feeling “screen fatigue.” Every one of our meetings and face-to-face interactions is done in front of a computer. Eventually, the screen fatigue blends seamlessly with the normal work fatigue, and by the end of the day, we’re left with sore eyes and little energy for the things we used to enjoy.
To combat this, I’ve found some ways to continue to work and feel productive without having to sit in front of the computer the entire time.
Meet Without Video
Not every meeting needs to be a video call. When you can, dial into your meetings from your phone (via an app or otherwise), and take the meeting from somewhere else. If the weather is nice, take a walk! You can wander around and get a bit of exercise while staying a productive participant. Yes, it’s more convenient to just remain where you are when transitioning to a meeting, but you’ll be glad you got up and moved around.
Solve a Problem Somewhere Else
Another good excuse to get up and away from your screens is to do some critical thinking or problem solving. Changing up your environment can kickstart your thinking. Go to another part of your home with some paper and pencils, and try to work through some solutions manually. Really stuck? Try going for a walk.
Take Real Breaks
If you’re fortunate enough to have a schedule that enables it (like I do), stop working every so often. I’m not just talking about five-minute breaks, either. I like to have significant portions of time set aside to close Slack, close my laptop, and do literally anything else.
Three 3-hour chunks of work spread throughout the day can be a lot easier to manage (from a screen-fatigue standpoint) than one long 9-hour session. Combine this with the two previously-mentioned strategies, and you can start to experience much more variety in your day.
The reality of remote work is that you’ll definitely be in front of your computer more than before, but it doesn’t have to be exhausting. I hope that if you try to work one or two of these strategies into the way you work, you can potentially avoid the kind of fatigue that prevents you from doing a Zoom call with your friends or pursuing a personal project outside of work.
I love the recommendation to put pen to paper. I did that early on and it was HUGE. I think sitting in front of a 2D screen can be exhausting and switching modes back into the 3D world can help shake out some new solutions to old problems! Thanks for reminding me to do so!
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