Shutting off your mind at work?

Are you guilty of shutting off your mind to make it through the working week? If so, you’re far from alone…

The research says:

80% of worldwide workers are shutting off their minds as a survival strategy of sorts. This is according to the London Business School’s professor of organisational behaviour, Daniel Cable.

So why are employees needing to use any such strategy? It all comes down to our natural instinct to explore, experiment, learn new things and generally innovate. Something that few workers get to do in the midst of their daily (often highly routine!) tasks.

This causes us to subconsciously override our ‘brain’s ‘seeking system’ and, as Cable mentions, risk “seeing work as a commute to the weekend.”

What’s the answer?

Increased innovation! If this topic feels familiar, it’s because we have discussed aspects of this before in…

What can we do?

Today we’re going to focus on this issue from the employee perspective. If you’re a manager or business owner, you’ll find a selection of recommendations here.

As a worker or job-seeker, you can reinvigorate your creative mindset by exploring a side-project, as linked above. This will remind you that you can think in new ways – and how doing so can bring a real buzz.

Alongside this, you need to increase your innovation through the working week; even if your boss isn’t living up to their end of the creative bargain!

As suggested in our feature on ‘experimentation culture’, it is worth testing the waters to see whether your manager is open to increased brainstorming before dismissing this as a no! If it is a no, there’s still no reason that you can’t…

  • Turn small routine tasks into novel experiments. See how you can boost your productivity through new methods. Research the latest productivity systems, such as bullet journalling or one of the systems in this list (in your own time, so you don’t anger the management!) and put them into action. See what works best for you and how you can build upon your successes.
  • Set yourself challenges. This can be run in tandem with the above. Set yourself goals to hit and challenge yourself to find different ways of reaching them.
  • Find someone else who feels the same. Meet before or after work, or over a lunch break, and brainstorm some ideas together. Tie this in with both of the above tips to see how you can transform the monotonous into a hive of innovation.

Do it well and your boss is sure to notice the difference. If they don’t or things just feel too stale, perhaps see whether there’s anywhere else that will offer you more of a creative challenge. Our jobs page is an excellent place to start.

[Shutting off stat source: HR Magazine]