©Alamy via BBC
- mental block /MEN-tl blok/
- rob /rob/
- video conferencing /VID-ee-oh KON-fer-uhn-sing/
- overload /oh-ver-LOHD/
- readjust /ree-uh-JUHST/
[noun] – if you have a mental block about something, you cannot understand it or do it because something in your mind prevents you
Yuki has a mental block about names and has difficulties remembering them.
[verb] – if someone is robbed of something they deserve or want, it is taken away from them
A serious injury robbed Mike of his position in the basketball team.
[noun] – a system that allows two or more people who are in different parts of the world to talk to each other and see each other on television screens
I always make sure that my video conferencing software is in top condition everyday.
[verb] – to put too great a load in or on something
It’s nice to acquire more knowledge but remember not to overload yourself with information.
[verb] – to change in order to fit a different situation
We’re now in Los Angeles. Readjust your watch and the time on your phone so you won’t get confused.
There’s a psychological theory by Australian psychologist John Sweller that explains why the pandemic has caused our focus to dwindle. The Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) describes our minds as “information processing systems.” We tend to depend on our “working memory”, which has limited capacity and duration when storing information, when we solve a problem that’s unfamiliar to us. Due to this, the new routines caused by the pandemic robs us of our capability to do things automatically.
One perfect example is attending meetings. Before, all we have to do is attend the meeting with a journal or laptop on hand, but now we have to worry about our environment, the internet connection, and the video conferencing software. Another is our domestic life. The background noises at home and outside are huge distractions while working. So what do we need to do to stay focused in these trying times?
Two things: planning and discipline. First, establish a new routine applicable to working from home and master it. Next, pay extra attention to stress management. Both of these will prevent our working memory from overloading either by anxiety or just plain exhaustion. Finally, be more organized and disciplined about distractions and set a dedicated schedule for professional and domestic life. For example, while working, don’t have the TV running in the background.
We’re still uncertain how long this pandemic will last; maybe a few months more. It’s difficult to manage both personal and professional life in the same place and time, that much is true. Our brains’ limited processing capacity when it comes to routine is being challenged right now, but we can readjust our focus through careful planning and stricter discipline.
- What issues have been brought to light by certain articles?
- What is CLT according to Dr. Sweller?
- What do the new routines caused by the pandemic do to us?
- How did attending meetings change now that we are working from home?
- What do we need to do in order to readjust our focus?
- Have you ever experienced mental block during work hours? If yes, how did you cope with it? If not, what will you do to prevent it from happening?
- Do you tend to do your work “automatically”? Please tell me more about it.
- What do you do when you are faced with an issue you are unfamiliar with?
- What are your personal ways to stay focused?
- What do you recommend to avoid mixing a person’s professional life with his/her personal one?