Stewards Log: 14:35:22:06:2010-06-22
We all have bad days, where we zombily drag our feet into the house at the end of the day, grunt at the dog in hopes of it making supper and collapse on the couch. The problem is we’ve been in this mode since NOON!
We’ve been going through the motions but have we gotten any real work done?
What did our co-workers think of us after that conversation we barely remember having?
How can we make the throbbing in our head go away before morning?
The worst part is you’re probably not tired, physically at least so having a nap till your mind clears is out of the question.
I would like to share a quote with you from Getting Things Done by David Allen
“… you can’t fool your own mind. It knows whether or not you’ve come to the conclusions you need to, and whether you’ve put the resulting outcomes and action reminders in a place that can be trusted to resurface appropriately within your conscious mind. If you haven’t done those things it won’t quit working overtime. Even if you have decided on the next step you’ll take to resolve a problem, you mind can’t let go until and unless you write yourself a reminder in a place it knows you will, without fail, look. It will keep pressuring you about that untaken next step, usually when you can’t do anything about it, which will just add to your stress” or mental drain.
So how do we combat this? When I think about work, and getting the most out of a project and my time there are a few bits of wisdom that come to mind. The Pareto Principle tell us that 20% of our work produces 80% of the results, and some people suggest we get the most important part of our work day out of the way as earlier as possible, citing this principle as reason. More suggest that the more focus we can place on the 20% that matters, the less we need to worry about the other 80% of the activities.
This is all great advice, but what I have discovered it that it all comes down to ENERGY. The 20% activities they talk about are usually the toughest you have to deal with, and if you don’t have the energy, willpower, courage, whatever you want to call it, there is a very good chance it could get put off to another day….
…or a little emotional recharge to give us the energy we need to tackle the difficult assignments.
In this state that we have been talking about, you simply don’t have the mental capacity to FOCUS on what really needs doing, you want to shut out the outside world…but you can’t.
So let’s look at some ways to clear the mind and recharge. The root of all the techniques we’ll look at is taking back mind space, so we’ll have to figure out how to get what’s in here [pointing at my head], out here [opening my palms].
Think: So often we don’t take the time to think about what’s on our minds we just react and do. Take a few minutes, a note pad if you need to and focus on what is on your mind, and write it down. Call it temporary storage. Pin the note pad to your door where you’ll find it when you need it and suddenly your mind is open again.
Read: If there is a topic, a reoccurring thought in your mind that you just can’t let go of, do the research, read about it so you know the answer and no longer have to dwell on it.
Plan it out: If the mind space hog simply won’t allow you to clear your mind unless dealt with, plan it out. Take a paper
calendar and write down when you will deal with the various components, use an electronic calendar to set reminders, email yourself the list of to-do’s and cc your accountabili-buddy.
The next few techniques are in the “take your mind off the problem solving” category, because we have subconscious minds that don’t mind doing the work for us some times. You will still need to come back to the “mind-hog” afterwards and resolve the blockage – again write it down, email yourself, read the book Getting Things Done and create your own system.
Sing: Fire up you iPod, the radio, stream some music you love and just sing along.
Work: or work out, if you have a job environment that allows you to get physical, focus on the task, if not hit the gym, go for a walk, a swim, a bike ride.
Complete: I have a theory that human beings are completionists and get immense satisfaction from completing task and projects. Sometimes what we are working on does not allow for that, so get yourself a crossword book of puzzle that you can finish and complete something.
My father—methinks I see my father—
Where, my lord?
In my mind’s eye, Horatio.
Next up the soul…