Mental blockades or mental blocks are the inability to think under stress or tension. Writer’s block is a form of mental blockade, when a writer cannot compose words when faced with performance pressure. Mental blockades also occur when we are constantly interrupted.
Managing Disturbances and Disruptions
• Use time structuring to set specific times to check messages. Then only check messages at these set times throughout the day. An endless stream of mindless messages is not productive but does generate stress as we are endlessly pinged, questioned and asked for answers.
• Turn off the notification noises associated with the arrival of new emails. This is a disruption for productive work. A constant stream of noisy disruptions can create a mental blockade for those trying to work on the computer or even replying to an email.
• Turn off the notification beeps that inform you that you’ve received a text message. The only thing worse than interrupting a meeting or distracted driving to check a text message is to do so for an “I’m watching TV –what are you doing?” message.
• Install a productivity barrier on the door to your cubicle. When you want to work without disruption, close the barrier. Others can see that you are in your cube working but cannot simply wander in to chat.
• If possible, listen to music through headphones while you work. This will allow you to tune out the distractions of surrounding conversations and phones as you work without disturbing others.
Breaking Mental Blockades
• When a mental blockade seems insurmountable, go for a walk around the building without any interruptions. Stepping away from the computer and clearing your mind can help restore an undisturbed chain of thoughts. When you return to your desk, try again.
(To be updated)