Tips for Rational Thinking in the Workplace

With the lingering worry of another lockdown on the horizon, coupled with uncertain business security, it is easy to start overthinking and creating ‘worst case’ scenarios in our minds. We can often be our own worst enemy when it comes to creating unnecessary stress and pressure. However, learning a few techniques for rational thinking could be the answer to avoiding that cloud of anxiety – particularly whilst trying to work.

To become a rational thinker you have to think in terms of goals and objectives. In times like this, thinking towards the future can become overwhelming, so it is important to plan out an achievable roadmap with realistic steps. Ensure you also choose the best method of achieving your goals while you’re in planning mode too.

Separating Emotions

Often, the reason we struggle to think rationally is because we let our emotions cloud our thought processes. This is why sometimes when we talk to others about our worries they often seem to come to an obvious conclusion right away, because they are emotionally detached. Thinking in terms of what is necessary and what is correct over how the situation makes you feel is the key to rational thinking.

If you struggle to detach your feelings from your thought process, reverse the roles and imagine you were giving advice to a friend. What would you suggest if someone came to you for advice on the same problem? Removing your personal involvement can make the thought process a little easier.

Alternatively, you could consider writing down your problems and potential solutions in the third person. Research has shown this is a really effective way to create space between your emotions and the problem you’re facing. Writing in the third person allows you to review and evaluate the situation from a new viewpoint rather than from inside your head.

Turn Emotions into Actions

While it is easier said than done to just put aside your emotions, changing the way you view a problem can be really useful when you’re aiming to think more rationally. Instead of letting your negative thoughts become road blocks, let them be sign posts to the steps you need to take. When you come across a perceived problem, break it down into smaller steps until it is easily overcome and you’re back on track with achieving that bigger goal.

It is also important not to let other people’s emotions lead you to making an irrational choice. This is referred to as using ‘cool logic’. During a discussion or brainstorming session, all conversation should be orientated towards the goal you’re trying to achieve and why. When egos become involved in the discussions, that’s when decision making becomes irrational. Remember all decisions should be made with certain objectives in mind.

Solutions and Consequences

As it is human nature to react first with emotion, then with logic after the fact, it is a good idea to test theories and solutions wherever possible. What’s more, you will want to find as many potential solutions to your problem as imaginable in order to get the best outcome.

To do this, you will need information. Use your knowledge, use the internet, and use the network within your workplace to gather as much information about your goal/problem as possible before you set up a logical plan.

If you’re worried about taking a particular step towards your goals because you fear the potential consequences then break the problem down further into strengths and weaknesses. Do this for all your possible solutions and compare them to each other. This will then help you to determine which solution is the most successful and the least risk.

Then if you’re able to, before you put the solution into action, do a trial run. Doing a sort of test before you launch a new product can put your mind at ease and avoid the feeling of it all going wrong.

Often, the workplace itself can have a huge impact on the way we think and work. Being within a supportive, flexible space with a close community and helpful centre staff can make us feel a lot less isolated and worried in times like these. If you are looking to move your business to a new workspace, get in touch with Officio on 020 3053 3882.