The mind is a wonderful thing. Its capacities for planning, remembering, inventing and imagining are, quite frankly, astounding. But also, my feeling is that we can be too much ‘in the head’. If we spend too much time operating from the mind, it can get full, tired, foggy and unoriginal. Coming from the mind then becomes counterproductive.
It is so common to equate more ‘desk work’, more ‘head work’, with more productivity, but I would encourage you to pay close attention – is this true? My noticing, from my own experience, and from work with clients, is that there is a tipping point. And we can sometimes ignore the feedback we are receiving (such as finding it harder to think, working more slowly, feeling like you are wading through treacle, annoyance, boredom, dullness) and keep pushing the mind to ‘produce more’.
It is a much more enlightened style, to pay good attention to the signals we receive and really balance out the ‘being in the head’. So, how to do this? There are classic strategies such as taking breaks, great work life balance and not working too late. Other considerations are to spend plenty of time in activities that are very much ‘not in the head’ and that seem to be ‘maximum points’ head-replenishing activities. What this is will differ from person to person and from day to day. But, it can include things like walking in the woods (a favourite of mine), meditating (another favourite!), doing something creative, singing, or anything that is ‘in the body’ (dancing, yoga, walking).
I remember a particular occasion last summer; it was a Thursday and I was invited to go drumming with a group of people in the Peak District. I have never done this and it sounded different and fun, but I had plans for my work… I decided to take the plunge and accept this unique invitation to go drumming. No ‘head work’ happened that day, but some wonderful inner process was occurring, as I lost myself in such a new, absorbing and invigorating day. The next day, when working, a whole new training course poured out of me. My system had been so replenished and so nourished that a truly elevated level of creativity and originality was easily available to me.
It’s for each of us to discover what works for us, but the key thing is to notice and to be open to bringing in new approaches to how we work and live. It can be so easy to just keep living out habits, that are perhaps not working for us. We can get stuck in being a ‘busy fool’. How can you switch things up? What can you experiment with? How can you get more in your body and in your creativity, so that when you use your mind for your work, you feel inspired, motivated, fresh and flowing?