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15 ‘Head Noises’ in the time of Covid-19


Article first published on the Aspiring HR website 27 April '20.

Photo credit Jason Strull

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the helpful and unhelpful head noise that goes on around my work in coaching teams, leaders of teams and individuals in career transition (take a read here). For the past two weeks, I have been noting down some of the head noise that’s going on right now, in this time of Covid-19.

In the same spirit of that first time, this is to share, see what resonates with others and discover if any sense or insight emerges as a result. Don’t expect structure, analysis or evaluation. It’s just a snippet of what I’ve noticed for myself and thought, in the moment: “that seems interesting.”

  1. Zoom Fatigue – flitting between no focus (especially early morning/late afternoon) and what someone described to me as “hyper focus” or “cognitive overload” – sometimes losing attention more often and at other times paying extra attention

  2. Being an introvert and always feeling on show

  3. Zoom Grooming – more conscious of how I dress, shave, or what’s in the background in the room

  4. What Martin Saville described in a brilliant LinkedIn post as “melancholia” – including thoughts about ”is this now how it will in some way continue to be”?

  5. Lots of doing, snatches of being

  6. The feeling of needing to use time wisely

  7. Finding myself in meetings or calls and being not sure of why I am there and how I am able to contribute

  8. Finding myself in some meetings or calls which feel less task-oriented than usual and really collaborative and productive

  9. Losing track of dates, appointments, days of the week

  10. An anxiety about what I should be doing, sometimes with accelerated heart rate

  11. Changes in routines – less scheduled and structured, different sleep and dreaming patterns, a shift in cadence of how often/how long things happen, more awareness that caffeine, diet, alcohol, antihistamines all kick in on these things

  12. A shift from teaching and acting the expert to learning and contributing through facilitation

  13. More attention to relationships including family, neighbours, friends and working relationships – noticing that some of these have become unexpectedly important and that is a welcome surprise

  14. A different quality of time to prepare and follow up sessions with clients, and that feeling beneficial to me and hearing that it’s beneficial to them – not doing some of this on the go, on the train

  15. Finding some activities are more compressed, with fewer gaps, and looking for ways to decompress in a different way.

Finding that in a quiet time, the working day can be surprisingly long and there’s always something left to do that I would have liked to have found time to do that day (but noticing that it’s easier to leave many of these for another day and to feel not such a problem – less things are urgent)

I’m sure there are many other head noises that we are all experiencing, feel free to share yours too.

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