This may be part of a broader question that could be "how to focus on work during a period of personal emotional issues", but in my specific case, I am a manager and my day-to-day work involves both hands-on and coordination/communication work.

I feel that I am perfectly able to focus on routine hands-on work, but I am impulsively "closing myself" and tend to eschew interaction with other people, especially if it is non-routine and involves a degree of proactive participation. I cannot focus during meetings, I "space out" even during a normal one-to-one conversation... and all this is obviously affecting my performance.

I know the best may be to first sort out my emotional issues, but how can I work properly until the issues are solved? And is there anything more original than "try harder to focus"?


Stop drinking HoneyTea and switch to good old coffee! Get enough sleep, do some sport, best on fresh air, even walking is good.

Basically you have to give your mind the rest it needs and demands or it will keep grabbing it whenever it can, like in meetings or other boring situations. If it is possible take a week off and spend it somewhere on a beach other relaxing location.

And there is no "until then", start fixing your issues now and your performance will increase automatically, the sooner the better.

You also have to see that this is not about your performance, but also about your team. If they come to you with questions and don't get an answer, it affects their performance too, both the time wasted talking to you and the time they need to fix it themselves afterwards. They need you to function and if you cannot you have to talk to your manager about how to solve this temporarily.

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    Even if the asker starts working on the personal issues right away, there's still going to be an "until then" meaning until they are fixed. There aren't many emotional issues that can be fixed instantaneously, and the asker is asking for a way to be professional at work until they are solved. – starsplusplus Oct 11 '14 at 14:05
  • Not only is this answer wrong, it is actually harmful. The mental health ability to cope with stress varies from person to person and from situation to situation. It is a form of blaming the victim of a stressful situation to try to assert that blanket "down home" advice will work "if you just do it." Whatever else, "just eat right", "just exercise", "just don't think about it" -- these things absolutely will not work unless you are fortunate enough to be a person with minor sensitivity to stressful circumstances. For most people, you need professional counseling and help. – ely Oct 12 '14 at 18:23

I agree with the drink coffee answer. Green tea also gives a natural energy boost.

At work, you really need to put on your best face forward, but on your personal time, it's a different story.

When you are away from work, try to do more recreational things than usual. This may involve watching comedies on YouTube, reading books, interacting at other forums with people who are going through similar turmoil, etc.

And don't beat yourself up if you sleep too much, or eat some extra comfort food. Just say "I'm going through this rough patch, I will try to make myself feel good so I can eventually recover from all of this"

Eventually, things will come back to normal, and it will be easier for you to focus at work without even trying. Let the healing take its course.

One more thing...

If these unpleasant emotions arise at work, try to find a place to be alone, and allow yourself to ruminate and go through these thoughts. Lot of people suggest "not thinking about it" and "occupying yourself", but these thoughts will keep surfacing again. Allow yourself to think about it, and remind yourself these are just thoughts (we are all human, we get thoughts, it's just like breathing).

If you allow yourself to think these thoughts, even for 5 minutes at work, the wave passes and you can continue being productive. And if the thoughts come up again, allow yourself to think them. Eventually they decrease in frequency till they disappear.

I suggest reading "Mindfulness in Plain English" (about 70-odd pages, will help you see things through different perspective). And https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/ may have some universal ideas for you.

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