Mental blocks - a case for flexible thinking and working
We work best when we're happy, focused and moving forward, unstressed yet with enough tension to drive ourselves forward.
Most of us get mental blocks from time to time, unable to see the things in front of us, even those things we've done before, and particularly frustrating when colleagues patiently talk us through them.
The case for flexible working
The ability to pivot to something different, probably easier, definitely unrelated, is a useful technique to help us get moving again.
Isn't that an excuse to avoid doing the hard stuff?
We're professionals right? With KPIs and deadlines!
Although we can't prevent mental blocks we can recognise them, identify them, make a note of the issue, park it away, then work on something else. Come back when we're ready, perhaps from a different approach / angle to avoid reawakening the block.
Deadlines and emergencies often surface at inappropriate moments and it's inevitable that opportunities to pivot to something else are significantly reduced. Nevertheless, self awareness and practice at dealing with various mental issues can help when they arise.
Self awareness is like a tree, it benefits from cultivation and growing in a favourable environment over a period of time. Just as photosynthesis turns nutrients from roots into strong branches leaves and fruit, so too does absorbing how we react to our surroundings, use our experiences to grow ourselves, amending our behaviour as we grow, and sharing that benefit with those around us.
Self awareness is a superpower
But awareness isn't enough, to be effective there needs to be workplace flexibility and management support
Less is more
A recent study demonstrated that working half day Friday is a huge performance win. Instead of pushing ourselves into working until the end of a normal exhausting final working day of the week, requiring a whole weekend to recover, it's a great refreshing start to the weekend, our spirits lifted and full of energy.
Added enthusiasm: the study found the effects were additive, the work was rewarding in itself, and it often continued at varying paces during the weekend, with no loss of energy, and the following week started on a high.
Input: Flexible working and management support
Output: Higher productivity and mental well-being