On February 28th, I looked at my calendar to transfer my appointments and committed tasks and timeblocks for the day into my analog agenda. To my amazement, I did not have a single Zoom call (or Teams meeting, or Webex, or GoToMeeting, or Jitsi, or anything else) on my calendar.
For some of you, that may sound like a strange statement. For me, however, my past months have been a constant humdum of online meetings. So much tasks that are different in non-pandemic times (teaching in the classroom, drinking a coffee with a colleague and catching up, sitting with students to discuss their work,…) have been replaced by More of The Same: me sitting in my bedroom on my exercise-ball-chair with my noise-cancelling headset.
And, a day without Zoom felt like a blessing. I worked on data analysis for a paper in the early morning, I checked in on the progress of a proposal, finetuned some ideas for experiments, replied writing-related emails, caught up with part of my service-related emails, took a midterm exam offline, and graded the exams on my tablet. It made me realize how desperately I needed a day away from videoconferencing.
With this realization, I looked at my calendar for the next week. I’ve been trying to keep one day per week to be a “focus day” that is geared towards making progress in research and writing, and I’m slowly trying to move towards having no calls on that day. I need it. And, if you are trying to get access to me, I hope you understand that one day a week, I’d like to curl up with my data and do some deep thinking.