We have all heard of the term writer’s block where a person sits in front of a blank page, unable to think about anything to write down. What if you aren’t in that line of work and you still feel like your brain doesn’t want to work? Do you quickly chalk it up to another attempt to procrastinate? There is something that you don’t want to do, so therefore you are being lazy again? Perhaps you are working under a deadline, and you start to panic about having no ability to form a thought. Don’t be so quick to judge yourself harshly, it could really be that you brain needs some time, or some function, to get back on track and start working properly again.
Brain doesn’t want to work – let it rest
- Take a break that requires no thinking – this might be an excellent time to go and take a walk. Taking a 10 minute walk, outdoors if at all possible, is a great way to get your brain working again. Just look around, and see what’s in front of you, no thinking required for the duration of your walk.
- Get rid of distractions – when you can’t think, you might be tempted to jump on social media and “take a break”. Instead, this is the time to turn the phone off, shut the notification tones on your computer off, and avoid these kinds of distractions. Social media are full of short messages that often need clarification and that kind of search and find exercise is not going to help the tired mind. You may find yourself going down a path of investigation that is going to get you even further behind. It is also been shown in studies that you will need more than 25 minutes to get your focus back after a distraction.
- Stop Multitasking – you may think you brain isn’t thinking about the task at hand, but could it be thinking about the other 92 things it needs to get done today. Your big project is just one piece of the puzzle for today, you also have errands, to-do lists, RSVP’s to return, phone calls to make and all the other things that everyday life is made up of. Give your brain a chance to dump those thoughts for a short break as well.
Getting back on track
Now that you’ve taken some time to get your brain to rest, and you’ve centered yourself to get started on the big project in front of you, how do you get your brain moving in the right direction.
- Don’t start at the beginning – maybe you are in a holding pattern because there is a step that you can’t quite process right now. Try changing the order of the way you are thinking. You are writing a big report and can’t come up with a list of the data that you need to include – try changing gears to writing the report and leaving blank space where you need to insert more info later. You’ll get an idea of how long the report is going to be, and find out how much to need to research and gather.
- Look for patterns – start grouping alike items together to gain your momentum. You can save time, and let your brain work faster as it processes information in batches that make sense together.
- Find multiple solutions – for those perfectionists among us, you might be hitting a glitch because you can find a problem with the solution. So go ahead and brainstorm a bunch of new solutions. Maybe you will find a better solution, or maybe you will find that the thing that’s holding you back isn’t a deal breaker after all given the other solutions that you’ve thought of. Either way, you will have a direction to head into with more confidence.
- Fill your head – go ahead and review all the material, the facts and figures, the illustrations and photos, the code, the audio whatever is involved in your project. Now you have everything fresh in your mind, and you can find new ways to present the material that will work for your new energized brain not the annoying brain doesn’t want to work that was plaguing you earlier in the day.
How do you go about giving your brain a rest and then starting over in a better place? Please leave a comment below.