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dealing with avoidance behaviour

  • 01-12-2020 7:28pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    Hello,

    I've been struggling for a few weeks with avoidance-like behaviour related to my work. I am having real difficulty answering emails, sometimes even avoiding my inbox for days on end. I've been working from home since Feb, and it is getting worse, to the point where I need help before I destroy my reputation with my boss. I have missed a whole meeting today because of it, and I'm destroyed. I don't know how to manage this at all, I freeze up even thinking about it. I can't sleep, I'm barely communicating with colleagues and I really need help. Has anyone come across this before?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,338 ✭✭✭YellowLead


    daronmer wrote: »
    Hello,

    I've been struggling for a few weeks with avoidance-like behaviour related to my work. I am having real difficulty answering emails, sometimes even avoiding my inbox for days on end. I've been working from home since Feb, and it is getting worse, to the point where I need help before I destroy my reputation with my boss. I have missed a whole meeting today because of it, and I'm destroyed. I don't know how to manage this at all, I freeze up even thinking about it. I can't sleep, I'm barely communicating with colleagues and I really need help. Has anyone come across this before?

    Is this only related to your work? You are otherwise engaging with people and in your personal life? Are you still completing general work tasks and it’s just emails and meetings you are avoiding? How do you feel about your job in general, does the volume or complexity feel overwhelming?


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    YellowLead wrote: »
    Is this only related to your work? You are otherwise engaging with people and in your personal life? Are you still completing general work tasks and it’s just emails and meetings you are avoiding? How do you feel about your job in general, does the volume or complexity feel overwhelming?

    Barely get into work, but normal work tasks do get completed. Still engaging with people in personal life as much as possible, but hard to feel 'normal' as I work abroad so its all over video chat. Just emails and meetings I'm avoiding. I like my job, it is difficult and at a high-level (required a few years experience and quals to get) but the volume of admin is leaving me burying my head in the sand. Overwhelming is a close approximation to how I feel, but I want to just pack my bags and hide somewhere. I don't know how to face the volume of tasks


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,377 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    Sounds like procrastination and depression/anxiety. Are you getting out much? Are you leaving everything on the long finger, even things outside of your job like house work etc. Ive been going through something similar, couldnt even build up enough motivation to wash my dishes.

    Just a suggestion but id recommend listening to this podcast as it helped me get out a slump, might help you too? - https://play.acast.com/s/blindboy/explodingkingsandgestaltpsychology

    Listen to the end, it kind of jumps from one topic to another and it might seem like its going nowhere but then it does and it all makes sense.
    Hope it helps.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Sounds like procrastination and depression/anxiety. Are you getting out much? Are you leaving everything on the long finger, even things outside of your job like house work etc. Ive been going through something similar, couldnt even build up enough motivation to wash my dishes.

    Just a suggestion but id recommend listening to this podcast as it helped me get out a slump, might help you too? - https://play.acast.com/s/blindboy/explodingkingsandgestaltpsychology

    Listen to the end, it kind of jumps from one topic to another and it might seem like its going nowhere but then it does and it all makes sense.
    Hope it helps.

    I try to get out, I have a girlfriend of sorts and great housemates, and I keep on top of everything in the house, quite houseproud. Lockdown isn't as strict here in the UK but after lockdown 1 I feel that I am trapped in my own head. Workout 3x a week on the powerrack, and bring the housemates out jogging. Everything should be normal but my mind won't let me do the right thing... It's just the emails. I've deleted outlook from the phone, can't bring myself to talk to anyone but ye about it. Not a blindboy fan but I will listen to it, I do appreciate the link.


  • Subscribers Posts: 40,558 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    These are horrible times.

    Working from home is not the lassie faire paradise that some purport it to be. It is emotionally and psychologically difficult to stay motivated and productive when all you see is the same four walls all day every day.

    I had to get over similar issues as you during the year, and I got professional help to do so.
    The advise was as followed
    Structure yourself. Not just your working day but your whole day. Structure your morning to include breakfast, shower and some fresh air, even if only 10 minutes.
    Structure your working day to include regular breaks where you leave your desk, and give yourself a good lunch break, maybe include going to the shops to get out of the house. Those emails that your far behind on, put actioning them into your daily planner... And deal with them one by one. New ones that come in, let the sender know that you are extremely busy and will get to it when you can, and give an approximate generous lead in for yourself.

    Once you can structure your day, start to structure your week.
    Try to exercise as much as you can during your week, even if it's just walking. Give yourself ample time to do things like reading before bed, or other off line non screen activity.

    You say it's admin stuff that you find out difficult to get to and get over burdened by... Same as me. It's the mind numbingly boring aspects of work that I find difficult to start never mind finish. So what worked for me was to have a regular distraction. I started playing guitar. I gave myself 5 minutes of messing on guitar after every hour of work, or at those times that I just couldn't do any more because of the boredom.

    Alongside all this, easy healthily, get good sleep hours, stay away from over use of screens when you are not working (very difficult!) and most important of all connect with people. Friends or family you haven't chatted to in a while? Drop a phone call to them. We all need human contact and what we are having to do during this pandemic is highly unnatural.

    Most importantly, as above, if you are feeling completely over whelmed, go talk to your GP. You may need some time off to recharge your batteries.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,342 ✭✭✭tara73


    Sounds like you are just unable to cope with the workload or the kind of work you need to do. Did I get it right you need to do a lot of admin work since you doing home office? I think it has something to do with work you didn't do before you worked from home and you don't like this work, were not trained to do it or whatever it is.
    If it is the case think you need to talk to your boss about it or HR better today than tomorrow. Your boss probably doesn't know what's going on and you're right you'll lose reputation.

    Other possibility is to call in sick for a few days and try to relax. Have you done it already? You are actually sick. Not sleeping is awful and makes you not able to function. Maybe it will clear your head. Or taking a holiday?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,394 ✭✭✭ManOfMystery


    I've had days and weeks like this in work over the years. Procrastination can be an awul rut once you get into it.

    The absolute best feeling is when you actually just get the things done and can tick them off your list. I find what helps is making a clear plan on a Sunday night for my week ahead - set time aside to get certain things done, and where possible don't allow distractions to knock you off course. Break it down and focus on what you'll get done each day rather than seeing everything as one huge mountain to climb. Divide and conquer.

    Can any of the admin tasks be delegated to anyone else, or streamlined? If you're finding that the volume of admin is impacting on the actual work processes, maybe its time for a serious conversation with your senior.

    For emails, good mailbox management is also useful in keeping organised and on top of things. I use every tool at my disposal in Outlook to simplify things - alerts & reminders, task lists to keep me on track, a specific 'To Do' folder for those very important emails, Rules to segregate less important emails into a different area, and so on. These things do make a big difference.

    I don't know if you're in a Microsoft environment where you work, but their 'Planner' app is also very useful at managing not only team tasks, but your own. It's a very simple tool unlike more advanced PM tools, but nonetheless may help you stay on top of things - and integrates well with other Microsoft software.


  • Registered Users Posts: 728 ✭✭✭bertiebomber


    i recommend you get up turn on your technology eat a good breakfast and then go out for exercise to clear your head and loosen up your blood and brain cells. Clear your mind and then go back and do 2 hour s work. Make a goal of answering 12 emails . Take a break 15/20 mins listen to the radio or go outside and take in fresh air. You have to pace the day and set tiny goals. Its the only way to work at home. I live alone and work at home so i use nature & the birds on my feeder to take my mind off the unusual life i now have to live. Take far more short breaks surf the net read an article juyst mix up the day from being a straight 8 hour drudge.


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