Performing well in terms of work requires a totally different mind state to the one we typically have in the home environment.

If you’re used to leaving your home in the morning and commuting to work, there’s time for you to wake up fully and to start to mentally get ready for the work day ahead.

Falling out of bed in the morning, making a cuppa and switching your laptop on, isn’t the same in terms of psychologically shifting into a work mindset.

Check out these five easy ways to use neuro-associations and your mind-body connection to get into the right mind state for action.

Exercise – wake up & get the blood flowing

Do some exercise in the morning. This doesn’t need to be a full workout (unless you want to), even simple low intensity yoga moves help to get oxygenated blood to the brain.

If you need inspiration there are loads of YouTube videos available, and many yoga teachers and fitness trainers are running free online sessions during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Among others, the Peloton App are offering 3 months of free workouts, including yoga, strength training and runnning coaching.

The Centr App by Chris Hemsorth is also now free for 6 weeks if you’re looking for higher intensity HIIT workouts and advice on nutrition and mental fitness.

Ditch the dressing gown 

Our brain is very effective at creating powerful neuro-associations, and even our choice of clothes makes a difference psychologically.

Slippers and your dressing gown, a onesie or even joggers and a slouchy hoody all send subtle messages to your brain that you’re in ‘relax’ mode.

You don’t necessarily need to stick a full business suit on, but get dressed ready for action.

Visualisation – prepare your mind to perform

There is now a significant body of research confirming the benefits of visualisation practices  By spending just a few minutes mentally rehearsing how you would like the day to go helps your brain to switch into gear. In doing so, you are deliberately preparing your mind to perform in a particular way.

So close your eyes, visualise yourself working with focus and efficiency. Imagine yourself feeling motivated and driven. Cognitively experience the sense of accomplishment you will feel when you achieve the goals you have set yourself.

Get your environment right

If at all possible, try to avoid working in the areas of the house that you usually relax in – particularly the sofa and your bedroom. Afterall, it’s not going to help if your brain associates a certain position on the sofa with popcorn and Netflix.

If you don’t have a desk at home, a small foldable table and chair are reasonably cheap. They also have the advantage of being portable so you can change your position in the home and have an element of variety.

In an ideal world, a clutterfree environment is generally more calming and allows for greater focus. That’s not always possible but if you have work clutter, and home clutter it’s worth separating the two. If you’re sat next to a pile of domestic bills and letters, they are easily going to distract you from focusing on your work tasks.

Set your outcomes the day before

Have your outcomes/goals for the day written out the night before. That way you know exactly what you need to focus on and there’s no deliberating over priorities.

Going for an ‘easy win’ first i.e. something that you can achieve easily is often a good way to get on a positive roll.

Final thoughts...

Taking charge of your mindset is challenging, particularly with all of the distractions and emotions associated with a pandemic! It is possible though, but it takes conscious effort. 

Becoming aware of your thought processes and learning how to control them to your advantage is undoubtedly one of the greatest skills you can learn. Mindset control is a skill that require continuous practice though. 

We all have good days and then other days where our minds want to run riot! So practice, but be kind on yourself and remember – it gets easier. 


Categories: Performance

Louise Ansell

Louise works with leaders and their teams to give them the knowledge and strategies to SUSTAIN performance and wellbeing – even in the face of adversity. Her career started at the top of mountains training people to lead through life threatening situations. This progressed to lecturing leadership skills and training teachers through to working with rescue teams, NHS senior leaders and business startups to global brands. She writes many of the Sky Bounders courses and articles and works with a range of clients on a personal coaching, training and consultancy basis. Beyond the work context, you'll find her enjoying life’s crazy adventures – whether that’s in the mountains, climbing on sea cliffs, messing about on paddle boards or simply enjoying exploring beautiful places.


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