Week 2- Techniques for overcoming your inner critical voice

Subscribe to Melanie's Agile Change newsletter?

Last week I was beating myself up about how disorganised I am, how I am not finishing anything, how short my concentration periods are, and how I am struggling to remember everything that I have done in the day or to remember what is coming up tomorrow.

My inner voice, always negative and quick to criticise, has had plenty of ammunition. Ironic that it is my own brain that has brought me to despair.

Recognising the pattern of negativity, I closed my laptop, created space on the desk and wrote a list of all the new and different things I have to adopt into my working practices in the few days.

The list shocked me, as there were so many things, some of which are quite small, but that are still new to my brain. For volume, I stopped counting after 35 items, but here are a few of the highlights, to make you think what might be on your list:

  • Making tea not coffee, and remembering that everything has to be decaffeinated for my colleague who has been diagnosed with a significant illness
  • Learning the new banking app which is not intuitive at all, I cannot imagine who the developers were designing for when they put this little beauty together, but it took me and my colleague 30 minutes to finally work out how to download the bank statements!
  • Updated phone screen, where all my apps are in a different order than before (don’t ask why, just another little annoyance)

The purpose of this exercise was to remind myself, with a physical list, that I am not useless, but that I have been in a situation of neural overload. Our brains are most effective when they only have 2 to 3 balls to juggle at the same time.

When I looked at my list I realised that I had been bombarding myself with tens of new procedures, shortcuts and new routines.

This list has multiple advantages:

  1. It gives me a reason to celebrate how much more capable I am now than I was a couple of weeks ago
  2. It acts as a reminder that by incorporating these new skills and routines, I am working smarter so I will benefit for months to come
  3. It provides the evidence that I have been working at a high pace, and if this is only temporary it is fine, but this cannot become the new norm