If you’ve ever felt like a shell of a person after a day of marathon meetings, you’re not imagining things. Your brain is being deeply impacted by your crammed calendar.
According to a 2019 survey of nearly 2,000 people, 67% feel extremely distracted by meetings.
In a 2021 report, Microsoft’s Human Factors Lab conducted a study that entailed 14 people to take breaks in between meetings, while another group went through several without pause. The brain activity of both groups was tracked by electroencephalogram equipment, and the results were surprising.
“I’m not surprised that people who took breaks between meetings felt better. People who take breaks in general feel better,” said Laura Vanderkam, a time management expert, in an interview with HuffPost. Those who took breaks showed significantly more healthy brain activity than those who received no reprieve between meetings.
“We all take breaks one way or another; it’s just [that] many times they’re unconscious. By choosing when and how to take a break, you notice the break happening and reap the rejuvenation,” Vanderkam continued to HuffPost.
The outlet also pointed out that a 2022 report found that employee productivity more than doubled when meetings were reduced by 40%.
“This is largely because employees felt more empowered and autonomous,” the researchers wrote in March for Harvard Business Review as reported by HuffPost. “Rather than a schedule being the boss, they owned their to-do lists and held themselves accountable, which consequently increased their satisfaction by 52%.”