‘Two Souls, Alas, Reside Within My Breast’ declared protagonist Faust in Wolfgang Goethe’s tragedy of the same name. And with this, he seems to have perfectly foreshadowed the dilemma of us – the postmodern knowledge worker.
Indeed, one of the key challenges that we face as knowledge workers – and that is largely ignored in conversations about mental or cognitive load(ing) – is that we perform two roles in one: we are both boss and worker at the same time. When in ‘worker mode’, we execute and complete tasks while in ‘boss mode’ to discover and define the work that needs to be done and what ‘good’ or ‘finished’ looks like.
Boss (Mode) Challenge
We observe in our daily work that most of us struggle to find the right balance between ‘boss’ and ‘worker mode’. We have a tendency to tilt heavily towards the latter. Not least because we feel an urge when thinking of all the things that need be doing, to getting them done straight away.
But ultimately, this is counterproductive: as you’re trying to make it through the things on your to-do list, your mind gets continuously distracted by all the other potential things you need to be doing. And your stress level rises.
Be more Boss…
…or better: be more in ‘boss mode’! And develop a twin habit:
- separate rigorously your ‘boss mode’ thinking and planning from your ‘worker mode’ doing and
- carve out time for guilt-free ‘boss mode’ thinking – at the beginning of each day and the end of each week.
Your personal productivity will benefit. As will your mental well-being.