This is what 5 hours of meetings does to me.

So, I stacked too much into my day today.

I finally got around to getting two meetings in the diary, which I had been wanting to make happen for a week or two.

Part of the issue is that I hold this dated belief that meetings are to be arranged around the person your meeting; I've definitely got better at managing this, but these are the remnants of a belief which formed back in my recruitment days, when meeting were encouraged and - inevitably - when trying your best to get them in the diary, you end up working around the schedule of your client. It's a two-way process, this arranging meetings lark, but it's imperative that the timing works for you, too.

Today, I under-estimated how taxing two meetings would be. It was only 2 meetings! The thing is, though, one of them lasted 3 hours... and then joined up with the second one (the guy from the first meeting ended up sitting in on most of my 2nd meeting). So between 11am and 4pm I was interacting. And, after 3 hours, I became the 'go-between' for two people who'd never met each other; i.e. I felt I had to be 'on good form', and my chatty/upbeat/good-spirited self.

During both meetings, I was training, or helping, or otherwise answering questions… so they were both pretty intense. Also, one of them was with an extrovert (Reece, you're a lovely guy, but I'm worn out brother), who was a pretty energetic, bouncing-around between subjects kinda guy. The sorta extrovert whose energy you feel you're absorbing once you've been around them for a few minutes, let alone a few hours.

Even a couple of regular, low-intensity meetings back-to-back is taxing enough for me. (Ideally, two consecutive meetings is my limit). 5 straight hours is, thinking about it, intense. What were you thinking, Jas?!

Literally me right now. (credit: Instagram / INFJoe)

I also had a video call planned for right after those 5 hours of meetings (the 2nd one took longer than I expected, so the 'gap' in between just didn't happen). Thankfully, it got re-arranged. Had that video-call happened, that would have been 6-6.5hrs of straight interaction. That's far too much. My head is hurting and my throat is sore just at the thought of it (to top it all of, it feels like I'm coming down with something…).

I am continuing to realise just how taxing I find being around others, due to my sensitivity. Right now, I literally want to curl up in a ball and lock myself away. Right after writing this, and hitting 'publish' on another post, I'll be tucking up into bed for some reading, end-of-day-journalling and a spot of Netflix. Update: I decided to publish this very post, today.

I'm trying to manage this in a couple of ways:

1. Managing my calendar (thus managing my energy)
Just 2 meetings back-to-back, and ideally a 'buffer' of at least a day between 'meetings days'; eg. If I have 2 meetings on a Tuesday, like I did today, no more meetings until Thursday. Tomorrow, I have a couple of video-calls - which I find slightly less taxing than in-person calls, and especially

2. Not over-extending myself in the actual interactions (to manage my energy); this one feels trickier as, in the moment, and especially when it's a 1-to-1 interaction, it feels like I give a lot to my interactions. This is definitely one that can be worked on, but I have a feeling it'll take some more firm and conscious effort to hold back a little and not expend so much energy.

3. Keeping my self-care in check (to maintain my energy)
Noticing the trend, here? It's all about keeping my precious energy levels hunky-dory.

I've written previously on this blog about why self-care is my #1 priority, as it feeds into every area of my life, including my meetings and interactions. For example, when I feel well and rested, I have more energy in the first place and I'm more likely to be able to maintain my energetic boundaries; once these have started to crumble, it feels like my capacity to control my inner energy reduces - I can go into people-pleasing mode and lose myself in the moment. Also, now that I've had such an energetic day, I've now done what's good for me. I went to the gym, did some stretching/yoga poses, sat in the jacuzzi/sauna, and put on some gentle, 'music from movies' playlist on Spotify (rather than pumping dance or rave beats, which I also have on Spotify but aren't for the frazzled state I currently feel like I'm in).

I honestly do not know how I survived those long days in recruitment, during which I might have 4 or even 5 meetings. Seriously. I'm getting exhausted just thinking about it.

If anything, this has helped me realise just how much I want to be *free* and earning a living in a way that let's me just do that...*live*. For me, that's being in complete control of my day - both my time and, crucially, my energy so I can best manage my energetic resources and feel 'well'.

This stuff is so important for me, and I'm continuing to realise just how important. A pretty significant realisation for someone who is currently interviewing at the moment... a full-time, 9-to-5-in-the-office is a complete no-no for me; a fully-remote role would suit me down to the ground. I might have to compromise on this, and find some sort of middle-ground, but let's see…

The more I experience in my life, and then follow up and process what I've been through like I have just now, and break down the whole experience, the more of these pangs of self-awareness I have and the more this feedback is able to inform the little and not-so-little decisions I make going forward.

Right, it's an early night for me. I'll see you on the other side. I don't want to see any humans for the next 12 hours, thank you very much... :)

(I'll be back to my normal, erm… more friendly?, self in no time, I'm sure). #fingerscrossed


frazzled Jas
Tuesday, 15th October 2019

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