Learning to Fight Zoom Fatigue

Are you over it yet? Zoom, I mean. Remember four months ago when the world keyed in to Zoom as the savior of the business world during quarantine? I do. I remember jokes about Skype blowing a 3-1 series lead over Zoom and debates about whether GoToMeeting was the superior enterprise solution. But that was before the landscape we see today—a landscape where friends, family and companies are inundating each other with requests to join virtual meetings and webinars from virtual cocktail hours to board games to, in our world, product launches.

For now, this is the new normal. So what are we supposed to do?

Feel Free to Check Out

I’m going to get some backlash for playing devil’s advocate here, but the fact of the matter is that work-life balance matters; and as someone who’s worked remotely for most of the past decade, I can tell you that when office walls erode so too does the traditional 9-5. Many remote employees simply never clock out, and that’s a recipe for disaster according to the American Psychological Association.

Working from an office creates natural boundaries on work times; working from home, as many fishing industry professionals in marketing and sales roles are doing now, removes those boundaries.

Checking out doesn’t mean you have a green light to shirk your responsibilities—but it does mean setting boundaries so co-workers know when they can and cannot expect immediate responses to emails; and it also means you’re not beholden to accept every Zoom invitation you get.

Learn to Say No

We have the best intentions, don’t we? Usually, when a Zoom invitation comes through, it arrives via someone we have a preexisting work relationship with. Most often, we respect those people and want to maintain a positive working relationship with them and, most often, we accept the invitation. After all, if someone invites you to a happy hour, you rarely turn them down. Right?

But Zoom isn’t always a party. It can be a business environment and your commitment likely also means a commitment for other people as well. Consider this before you accept: do you really have time to make that meeting in between dropping the kids off and running errands? Are you trying to do too much? Accepting every Zoom invitation can feel like death by a thousand, 30-minute cuts.

Industry insiders reading this column can attest that I, myself, am guilty of trying to please too many people and take on too many Zoom meetings. And with apologies to the offended, I think it’s a mistake that many of us have made in recent weeks.

Make Time for ICAST

When news broke that ICAST 2020 was going completely virtual, I received a flood of messages from people lamenting get togethers, product launches and—of course—the traditional, complementary ICAST beer or two. In the wake of that news, brands across the industry have been engaged in a game of virtual catch-up. Conservation brands are hosting virtual seminars. Tackle companies are hosting virtual product launches. Media companies are hosting virtual round tables. The ASA itself is hosting a virtual New Product Showcase sponsored by Fishing Tackle Retailer.

ICAST 2020 is going to push all of us to the very limits of Zoom fatigue. In many ways, it will require much more focus and attention and self control than a normal ICAST, where real work often takes place under the guise of familiar faces and handshakes.

That is mostly out the window this year. And ICAST 2020 is coming up fast. But the payoff in new knowledge will be worth it.

Next week, your inbox will be flooded with a tide of virtual meeting requests. Already, we are seeing the vanguard of ICAST 2020’s virtual events beginning to arrive.

My best advice for making it through?

Learn to battle Zoom fatigue. Make time for yourself. Respect the time of others, and get ready to lock in next week.