Solving Problems: Awareness and Rest
We all face challenges on a daily basis, whether its personally or professionally. Those challenges can range from minor to major. No matter the task at hand, there’s always a need to devise a solution and implement your plan of action. Creating the solution takes time, effort, and energy. All are spent both physically and mentally and some time to recharge for the next task. Being aware of the physical and mental tolls this process takes and allowing appropriate periods of rest will help you plan to be at your best when the occasion arises.
When am I at my best?
Identifying when you’re at your best is a challenge in itself and it may not come to you right away. It took me awhile to properly identify when I’m at my best. Take some time to think about the physical and mental state you’re in when you come up with your best work. Also, think about the state you’re in when you’re not the most productive and that, conversely, may help you identify when you’re at your best.
The following are just some examples of questions you can ask yourself to help identify when you perform well and also give some insight into how each affects you. Do you tend to focus best after a cup of coffee? Coffee is a natural substance that you consume that stimulates the body. Are there other stimulants, foods, or vitamins that you consume that energize your body? Are you energized after a workout? For me, a good workout gives me a burst of energy and help me clear my mind. I always feel better after a workout than I do before I started. Do your ideas come in conversation with others? Talking with other people provides new perspective. This new perspective can spark the new thoughts you need to devise your solution.
Resting isn’t just getting a good night’s sleep. Resting periods can range from seconds to hours and can be done in various forms. If I’m stuck on an issue for a short period of time (usually half an hour to an hour), I get up from my desk to grab a drink or say hi to a neighbor. This helps me clear my mind, recharge for the next session, and doesn’t take more than a minute or two. If the issue continues (usually another hour or two) then I get out of the office, grab lunch, or a cup of coffee with a coworker. I try to do something that helps disconnect me from the problem, so that my mind has time to relax and reset. This process works for me, but may not work for you. I’ve identified how to best rest, but you may need to try various forms of rest to get this process right for you.
To jumpstart your journey to be prepared physically and mentally, you’ll have to take baby steps. Being self aware is a challenge and one that you’ll never stop working on. The best way to start isn’t identifying how you feel before or during the moment, but to reflect upon things right after they happen. What did you do right? What could you have done to make yourself more productive? Once you start quickly identifying the things that helped, take the next step and try identifying them as they happen. The next step would be preparing yourself for those events and anticipate what you would do.
Once you’ve mastered the combination of awareness and rest, you’ll find yourself more productive and energetic. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away. This is a practice that takes time, but the benefits are well worth it.