If you think your fellow business owners, freelancers or entrepreneurs are on fire every day, you’re wrong. They’re human too and, as such, can’t be on a roll or riding out a successful and productive streak every day. But they’re not lazy either. You don’t get to the position of running your own business or brand or working for yourself by sitting back and being idle…but everyone can be prone to an ‘off’ day or vulnerable to losing their mojo, their get-up-and-go and being zapped of their motivation.
This inconvenient aliment, though not strictly speaking a medically recognised condition, is one who’s symptoms of absence of concentration, confusion and complete amnesia about what tasks are meant to be getting done, we are all too familiar with. It’s known as brain fog.
“What was I meant to be doing?”
“Where did I save that document?”
“I’ve got so much to do, where do I even start?”
“I just can’t think of what to say in this presentation/write in this proposal?”
If these (or similar) questions are ones you’re well acquainted with echoing around your head while you stare helplessly and blankly at your computer screen, you’re no doubt suffering from this hazy brain syndrome.
Sometimes your work schedule demands a quick but effective fix to brain fog. You have deadlines to meet, please to be and clients to please.
So here’s Four quick fixes to combat a foggy brain:
- Get Active. You have no doubt heard multiple times that exercise is good for you, not just for enhancing your physical health, but your mental well-being too. You’ve only heard it so many times because it’s true! Now getting moving- even if it is only for a short while- has untold benefits for your mental focus too, as Matthew Lee writing on Livestrong agrees.
- Get Meditating. Some may dismiss it as a bit mumbo-jumbo but meditating actually boasts a wealth of benefits, including chronic pain and stress relief as well as…improving productivity and focus. Lifehacker’s Melanie Pinola outlines how meditation can make us sharper and more efficient, whilst Kevin Purdy, highlights how even a two-minute meditation technique can work for those pressed for time.
- Get Out. Even if it’s just for five or ten minutes, getting some fresh air and natural daylight can work miracles for your cognitive concentration. The Vitamin D Council states that: “Lower vitamin D blood levels are linked to a higher risk of cognitive impairment.” Going for a quick breather outside can also help you attack work with renewed vigour and enthusiasm when you return.
- Get Caffeinated, Get Snoozing. Though we typically link caffeine to keeping us alert and awake, science has revealed that following a caffeine fix up with a short 20 minute nap is more effective for efficiency and focus than just downing a cuppa or grabbing a siesta. Don’t worry, light sleep or dozing suffice- just don’t exceed the 20 minute slumber time!
If you’re fortunate to have a day where you really should be cracking on with some work but don’t have the intense pressure of immediate deadlines weighing down on you- these four tips will help.
1) Start Small. You may think you’re using it as an excuse or distraction, tackling the smaller tasks before the bigger ones. In actual fact, completing lots of smaller tasks, such as filing or making follow-up phone calls, is a clever use of your ‘off’ day and can actually give you a feeling of immense satisfaction, motivating you to take on the bigger stuff, which will now seem less daunting.
Don’t forget, the little tasks matter too and once they’re ticked off you’ll have less to distract you (known as the Zeigarnnik Effect) when it comes to working through that harder task, which may require more of your focus.
2) Simply Start. The longer we put off any task, however big or small, the more likely it is to morph into an even bigger and scarier monster in our minds. On days we’re suffering from brain fog this ‘monstrous task’ can seem even worse.
Christine Brady advises on ADDitude to break a big task into bite-sized chunks or smaller more manageable tasks. This makes it seem easier and more doable, and, like tip one, gives you the satisfaction of ticking off lots of little tasks, with the added bonus of you working towards completing a bigger activity or project, sometimes without you even being aware of it!
Alternatively, use your brain fog day to start a lot of tasks, however big or small. While the human mind often dislikes unfinished tasks and this approach might seem a bit disjointed and jumbled, the hardest thing with any task is working up the motivation to start it. However, even if you just halfheartedly start lots of tasks, when you come in to work the next day (hopefully with a less foggy mind!) all your tasks will appear less daunting as you would have already made a little headway with them!
3) Embrace Creativity. Believe it or not, you’re actually at your most creative when your mind is sluggish and foggy. Solving problems, such as what topic to blog about or what your client’s new branding should look like, often requires insight and creativity- the ability to think with innovation, outside the box. This ability is at its peak when our minds are tired and more prone to distractions- outside influences and stimuli a.k.a inspiration! Use your ‘off’ day to work on that video editing or design job you’ve been putting off doing.
4) Pick Productive People. Sometimes we don’t get to pick which client we work with or even the people on our team but if you are a business owner, make an extra effort to hire productive staff. Frances Booth lists the reasons why surrounding yourself with productive people can have a positive and similar impact on you, including the fact that productive people tend to organise systems and others around them as well as themselves. This means you have less work to do and inefficiency problems are nipped in the bud before they even begin.
Being near productive people also increases the chances of you wanting to emulate their example and will mean, even on brain fog days, you’re inspired to complete tasks, even small or less important activities that have been on the back burner for a while!
For more expert tips on how to improve your work productivity or business processes contact us on 01484 401737 to find out more about our business growth services!