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4 Common Mental Blocks Most Managers Have (& How to Crush Them)

Getting your mental game in check isn’t always easy. Sometimes the habits we’re most proud of are actually the biggest obstacles standing in our way.


We all, over time, fall back on certain patterns that have proven to be effective in the past. The important thing to keep in mind is that each new project or task requires a fresh perspective. If you’re prone to any of these mental blocks, be sure to reset your body and mind with these helpful tips.

1. Always Grinding (#Hustle)

You’re the kind of manager who prides themselves on coming in early, staying late, and taking work home on the weekends. While your level of dedication is impressive, work habits like being on call 24/7 or over volunteering for extra projects can cause major burnout.

Some managers wrongly assume that burnout is for the weak. Quite the opposite — burnout is a common issue for high achievers who practice toxic productivity. Besides affecting your own personal happiness and health, burnout can have a serious impact on those around you. Symptoms of burnout include:

  • Thinking or speaking negatively about your job.
  • Being harder on employees than they deserve.
  • Decrease in overall empathy for coworkers.
  • More easily irritated at small issues.
  • Being or feeling misunderstood by colleagues.

Solution: Schedule Breaks

According to productivity expert and author Robert Pozen, you should aim to take a break every 75 to 90 minutes. Breaks should be an average of 15 minutes or however much time it takes you to feel as though you’re resetting your mental system to a more relaxed and recharged state.

2. Glass Half Full, At Best

Did you know that humans have over 50,000 thoughts every day and 70–80% of those are negative? So if you tend be pessimistic, you’re not alone. And while a little hint of realism keeps things like setting deadlines and assigning teams on track, project managers need to cultivate a sense of optimism in their work both for their own health and for the good of the company. Your colleagues look to you for cues on how to view and think about the project at hand. When problems arise (as they often do) your attitude towards the hurdles will set the tone for how your team reacts as well. Fortunately, adjusting your mindset is an easy habit to adopt.

Solution: Practice Self Care

Take time to nurture your body, mind, and soul. When you feel your best you will also think more clearly, maintain focus, and face challenges with a smile. Try cleaning up your eating habits, spending time outdoors, or developing some fun hobbies that are completed unrelated to work. And if you don’t already exercise regularly, start with a scheduled walk every morning. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes a day.

3. Not Enough Hours in the Day

With lots of nagging to-do list items, it can feel like your job is never done. The trouble with overbooking, overcommitting, and overworking is that you’ll actually achieve less than you what you had originally planned. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In fact, most team members would likely feel valued and appreciated if you gave them a task that is both within the parameters of their assigned role and specifically matches up with their unique skill set.

Solution: Set Healthy Boundaries

When it comes to taking work home, just don’t. It impedes psychological, physical, and emotional recovery necessary to maintain proper health. If you must bring work home with you, make sure it happens less than once a month and doesn’t interfere with family or social activities. Ask your colleagues to support you in achieving a healthier work life balance by holding you accountable to a hard out time at 5pm every day.

4. My Way or Highway

You’re in charge because you know what’s best. You have the most experience, the best training, and the most valuable skills needed to be a leader. The only problem is you’re starting to see just how much your own stubborn mindset is decreasing productivity for yourself and others around you. And if you already have five counterpoints to this idea ready to go, maybe it’s time for a little self reflection.

Solution: Improve Communication

If you want things done your way you have to make sure you’ve translated the dreams in your head into a cohesive and manageable plan that your colleagues can follow. Increased communication leads to increased satisfaction for all parties involved. Consider using a project management system with features like checklists, activity logs, and view trackers so you can rest assured your whole team is on the same page with you.

About the author

Maria Waida

Maria is a freelance writer specializing in B2B SaaS. When she’s not crafting blog posts she can be found nerding out over DnD, exploring California’s beaches or on a one woman mission to find LA’s best ramen spot. www.SaaSyCopywriting.com




Productivity tips and latest trends from the world of task management.

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