2 min read

How to take care of yourself during back-to-back calls

Research shows our brain is drowning during back-to-back calls. Here's what you can do
How to take care of yourself during back-to-back calls
Photo by Lubo Minar / Unsplash

Sustain issue #26 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)

Today, we continue part two of our four-part Fall Reset Series to ease into the darker months where work hours typically spike. Last week I introduced the 38-Hour Work Rule of prioritizing only the high-impact work that fits into 38 hours a week. If it’s not important enough to fit in 38 hours of your week, it’s not important enough for your organization or for you.

Today’s all about how we actually spend those 38 hours.

Microsoft published research recently concluding that not only does your brain need breaks for baseline well-being, but it also performs significantly better when it gets breaks. I think we inherently know this, but it’s hard to act on this in our hustle culture where worth so often equated to the number of things produced and hours worked.

This means we have to place value in taking short breaks during the workday and longer restorative time outside of it so we can do quality work on only the highest impact items.

If you’re just as guilty as me working through lunch and taking back-to-back calls all day, this one’s for you.

The Microsoft research hones in on how after back-to-back calls your brain quite literally goes from keeping a cool head to red stress. The research concludes that even short 5-10 minute breaks between calls can help with the suggestion to schedule meetings for 20 minutes, if you must even have a meeting in the first place.

In addition to short break bursts between conversations, daily time during the workday to disconnect on a walk, for example, is vital. It gives you space to find calm, recharge, and lets your brain chew on ideas that will be additive to your work.

Yes, less time actively working creates better work. Make the choice to rest and recharge early and often. Quality > Quantity


At a sustainable pace,


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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