Languishing

We are fourteen months into a major health crisis.

Again.

We are fourteen months (for some, even fifteen, sixteen, or more) into a major health crisis.

It is ok to feel down. It is ok to struggle to find motivation. It is ok to feel stuck, to have the impression that nothing is worth taking on, to think that this is never going to end, to believe that we will be in the middle for the rest of our days.

This is called languishing.

And a good antidote to it, is to give ourselves uninterrupted periods of doing. An even better antidote to it, is to give ourselves uninterrupted periods of doing something that matches with our broader sense of purpose. Arguably the best antidote to it, is to give ourselves uninterrupted periods of doing something that matches with our broader sense of purpose, and then talk about it with other people who share the same interest, with our loving ones, with the community we belong to.

We might feel like this is never ending, yet it will end.

We might feel like nothing matters anymore, yet most things still do.

We might feel like we are alone, yet we are not.

Here are three links to check out to help us manage languishing.

In parallel

I am old enough to remember the time when multitasking was often a requirement in job ads. Nowadays, I have at least the impression that it is not so much so anymore.

In any case, if you feel like multitasking, you are asked to multitask, you are looking for someone who multitasks, this study is a good reminder of why that is not a good idea.

  • Multitaskers are often people who struggle to block out distraction, and therefore it is very difficult for them to focus and enter in a state of flow.
  • Multitaskers are high sensation seekers, they are impulsive, and do not like to plan.
  • Multitaskers tend to overestimate their capability to multitask.
  • Multitaskers are not among those who are better at multitasking effectively (i.e., if you do not multitask frequently, you have better chances to be effective at multitasking in the occasion that is needed).

Bans and productivity

Is the workplace the best place to discuss societal and political issues? No.

Should societal and political discussions be banned from the workplace? Also, no.

The problem with a ban is that it rarely hits where it aims. You might want to curb animated discussions on your internal tools and you end up making your people feel less comfortable expressing themselves.

We do live in challenging times. Most issues are polarized. Most fail to see the greys. Most feel the only possibility is to be fully in or fully out. And if your people want to talk about a delicate issue, your role as a leader is not to direct the conversation towards the appropriate forums, but rather to sit down with them and provide a safe forum for the discussion to happen.

Even if that means a loss in productivity.

In search of meaning

I talk about this a lot, and for as much as it is a difficult practice, it is one I am committed to.

You can have an impact today. You can give others what you want others to give you. You can show a different way. You don’t have to fall into despair if the world around you is not the way you’d like it to be. You can be present, here and now, learn, grow, and take others with you along the way.

[…] people who are preoccupied with success ask the wrong question. They ask, “What is the secret of success?” when they should be asking, “What prevents me from learning here and now?” To be overly preoccupied with the future is to be inattentive toward the present where learning and growth takes place. To walk around asking, “Am I a success or a failure?” is a silly question in the sense that the closest you can come to an answer is to say that everyone is both a success and a failure.

One way to renew an obsessive preoccupation with success is to alter the idea that the present is a means and the future is an end. The problem with this way of thinking is that, when the future comes, then it too becomes just another present that is yet another means to yet another future.

Karl Weick, How Projects Lose Meaning: The Dynamics of Renewal

P.S.: thanks to Ed Batista for this fantastic article about the topic.