Mental Health Safety Moment

In our weekly team meetings at work we always start with a Safety Moment. I work in construction so there is serious concern about safety. One of these days it was my turn to do the Safety Moment. I decided to talk about mental health, since it is something the company is starting to pay more attention to, and they were promoting a “Mental Health Awareness Week”.

The construction industry is a tough place and there is lots of stigma around mental health. In one of the company’s newsletters, it was mentioned that managing workload and stress were ways to support mental health. But it didn’t really explain HOW to do it! It mentioned work-life balance and balanced workload as if it was a no-brainer.

I shared 4 points that I think can help managing our workloads:

1) Focus: it’s important to manage our attention. A good strategy is to use time blocking so that we focus on one thing at a time. We can have blocks for checking emails, blocks for doing deep work (like doing quantity take-offs or reading specifications), blocks for communication (phone calls) and blocks for planning or organizing information. Multitasking is an illusion: if we keep jumping from one thing to the next back and forth, we can never actually work deeply on something. Also, take breaks!

2) Plan the day: We usually underestimate the time we will take to complete something, so take some time to plan your time blocks and what is going to be the focus of the day.

3) Capturing and organizing: it’s important to have a trusted system to capture notes, write things down and organize everything. It can be done using paper or a task manager app. The key is to record our to-do’s somewhere out of our minds (I didn’t go into the whole GTD thing, since I wouldn’t have time to expand on that).

4) Shutdown Routine: it’s beneficial to do a brain dump at the end of the workday, capturing all loose and unfinished tasks to prepare for the next day. It helps preventing overwhelm and supports a healthy transition to our personal responsibilities.

I was very nervous to talk about this topic in front of my whole team. I felt vulnerable and kept wondering if I was the only one who was worried about mental health. It was terrifying because people in construction don’t usually talk about these things.

But in the end, it was well received, and people made agreeing comments. After the meeting some colleagues came to ask me about my system and how I was implementing taking notes, organizing tasks and doing the shutdown routine.


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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.