This is day two of my attempt to write something, anything, every day for 365 days in a row. CW: Today's post is a mixed bag of positive and negative feelings relating to Mental Health. If that's not your bag feel free to skip today's post.
It could be down to tiredness, or simply stress; however, recently I have found my ability to concentrate in front of the computer on productive tasks has been severely hampered. I will often sit down to complete something and find myself an hour latter having done very little more than wiggled the mouse and mindlessly opened and closed random tabs without reading their content.
When discussing this with other people and having done some research myself the term brain fog crops up time and time again. With the symptoms that I am personally experiencing I think the term is spot on. It isn't like I don't want to concentrate or even that I have no passion for the task I am attempting to complete. It's for those two reasons why, for me at least, brain fog is a problem and one that increases the stress I feel from even thinking about doing work.
The perfect day for me would be one with zero distractions and a well planned list of tasks set out the night before. I continuously aim for hyper-focus otherwise known as flow-state or being in the zone. For me one day of hyper-focus can easily make up for a week of "normal" operation hampered by brain fog.
Hyper-focus requires effort to achieve and once achieved is as fragile as a submarine made of tissue-paper. Being easily broken by any distraction means it's near impossible to enter the state in an open-plan office environment without the assistance of good noise-cancelling headphones and even then you will find someone just has to come tap on your shoulder to ask an unimportant question.
If you asked me when I am most productive I would usually reply with "at night". I can easily loose four or five hours to a project overnight and there being literally zero distractions in my work environment at that time is the number one reason.
However, recently with this Brain fog looming over me, I have found that even at night when I am usually at my most productive I find myself browsing lobste.rs, mindlessly clicking links, eyes glazed over.
What this has prompted me to do is look at my environment to see what, if anything has caused this. I think it's a combination of my home office space becoming increasingly cluttered, my browser gaining more tabs day by day and various other stressors causing me to lose sleep which in turn is causing a negative feedback loop.
Today I bookmarked the tabs I needed and closed all but my pinned email and I began to clear away the clutter that had begun to suffocate my work space. Going forward I am going to be far more mindful about what environmental factors are impacting my mood and productivity and work in a positive manner in order to improve them, so they do not result in contributing to mental fatigue.