David Grady coined the term “mindless acceptance syndrome” in 2016 during his Ted Talk. He explained this type of behavior as “an involuntary reflex in which a person accepts a meeting invitation without even thinking why” and “a common illness among office workers worldwide.” This is a comedic way to express overworking ourselves, but many professionals are falling into this trap.
The idea of mindless acceptance syndrome has gained popularity since we have found ourselves at home for the last year. If we are required to stay indoors, why not accept that 8th meeting? You will be “doing nothing anyway.” That is the wrong reply, yet it is increasingly becoming the canned response. Here is how to save yourself from meeting burnout.
Regulate your time commitments. A traditional “9 to 5” work week does not really exist anymore but creating boundaries still does. Are you thinking about attending a meeting at 5pm on a Friday? If it means alleviating weekend work by clearing up some assignments, this could be an alternative. Keep your work at work and your weekends to yourself and you are less likely to have that cringy feeling on Sunday night.
Create your balance. Your work week tends to lean towards the word ‘work,’ but every day should still consist of partial moments of rest, exercise, and a healthy diet. With the opportunity to schedule back-to-back meetings, many are zooming for hours and not taking a break. Block out your lunch hour, you deserve it.
Necessary or effective. Decide if every meeting is necessary for you to attend and if it will be effective to your progress. Just because there is a possibility to accept a continuous stream of virtual meetings into your workday does not mean that you should. Evaluate the agenda and topic of the meeting before mindlessly hitting accept.
– Katie VanHouten, Account Associate