Have you ever had ‘one of those days’? You know, the ones where you sit down at your desk and you just can’t get your brain to work. You can’t focus, you struggle to do any actual work, and you usually end up getting frustrated and not being very productive?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
This is known as a ‘mental block’ (also be known as creative block or even brain freeze), and it is not only very real, but it’s a professional’s worst nightmare. Everyone had experienced one at some point in their life, and if you struggle to get out of that headspace it can seriously harm your productivity. But there are some things you can do to break the mental block’s hold on you, and get back to your normal, productive self. And because we’re nice, we’re not going to keep them a secret – we’re going to share them with you!
Take A Break From Technology
Humanity in general was much less susceptible to mental blocks when we weren’t so surrounded by technology, screens and work. Our brain simply can’t keep consuming the huge amounts of data we do all day and still perform properly. But the only way to really stop that data download is to step away from the technology altogether. So do yourself a favour – leave your computer, tablet and phone at your desk, and take some time to detox. Avoid the TV as well – this will just replace the data with something else. Plus, it makes your eyes go square. Instead, disconnect fully and take some you time. Take a short walk, have a cup of coffee or even a short nap (if you can). Taking short breaks away from technology can do wonder for your concentration.
Change Your Workspace
We are the product of the things around us and the environment we are in, and sometimes that can be the problem. Whether that’s because you need a dynamic environment and your workspace has been the same for months, or because your workspace is cluttered or just dull, it might be time for a change. The way that happens is different for everyone. I know some people who rearrange their offices when they need a change, some who just buy a new set of stationary and some who even change the colour of the walls! However small or large, changing your workspace can give you that refreshed feeling that unblocks your mind and helps you focus again.
Change The Scenery
If you can’t change your workspace, or you have and it hasn’t helped, consider a brief change in scenery instead. If you’re sitting in your cubicle at work staring at the foam-and-fuzz walls, try taking a work-from-home day. If the butt-print in your chair has this project’s name on it, try going to a coffee shop or co-working space or even a park bench. Whatever the change – make it a real one. The human mind is great at building powerful associations between places and certain activities, and unfortunately being stressed and frustrated is just another ‘activity’ to the brain. So the more you stay in that space and stew, the more likely you are to feel unhappy and blocked every time you enter that space.
Do Something Creative
The best way to open your mind up and get yourself ready to work again is to engage in something creative. Of course, if your work is creative that means you need to step outside and do something different! Take up a hobby, write a story, draw a picture, read a book – do anything that makes you feel creative and activates the right side of your brain. Most of us will use the left side of our brain (i.e. the logical bit) most of the time at work, so giving it a rest and letting the right brain (i.e. the creative bit) can help get your mind off the frustration and relieve mental block.
Of course, everyone’s minds work in different ways, so what works for me might not work for you. These are just a few methods I know of to help get around mental block and get you back into a productive state. If you have any suggestions to cope with mental block, I’d love to hear them! Or even if you just want to talk organisation with me, please just get in touch and I’d be happy to help.