If the causes of depression are difficult to determine, then when the human performance is reduced, there are usually not so many reasons and they are easily recognizable. We will consider these reasons together with those recommendations which the client psychologist-consultant could offer in connection with them.
Reason 1. Physical exhaustion of a person. As the reason for the decline in performance, it mainly operates in cases where a person has to perform a job that requires considerable physical exertion for a long time. These are basically different types of heavy physical labor, which in modern conditions are rare.
In this case, in order to prevent fatigue, it is necessary to rationally organize the physical load regimen by thinking it up so that a person rests, restoring his working capacity before he has obvious signs of physical fatigue.
The client can achieve this as follows. For a sufficient time, observe your work and try to understand when, after prolonged physical exertion, it first appears noticeable signs of fatigue. Fixing the time intervals through which they regularly appear, it will be necessary to reduce the time of continuous operation by approximately 3-5 minutes, i.e. make the intervals between the moments of physical work such that during their apparent signs of fatigue did not appear.
It must always be remembered that with heavy physical work, in any case, it is better to make frequent, for short breaks for rest, than one big and rather long break. As a result, a person will be able to increase his physical working capacity much, and at the same time he will be much less tired.
Cause 2. Illness or physical ailment can also cause a decrease in the performance of a person. This reason occurs when any normal physiological functions are violated in the body. Their change can be ascertained in the event that a clinical examination of the client does confirm this fact.
Note, however, that simply a person's poor health, including physical, is not a sufficient reason to conclude that this is the case, since a physical condition of this kind can be generated by the client with the following socio-psychological reasons.
In the event that the socio-psychological reasons for the decline in working capacity are identified, the client is advised to rest, but if complete rest is impossible, then for a while, reduce to a minimum the physical and psychological loads.
However, such recommendations are mostly suitable only for people who are not used to heavy workloads. As for those who are accustomed to significant loads in life and for whom they are normal, they can not be recommended for a sharp reduction in loads, as a rapid and significant change in the habitual way of life can cause them negative consequences. For such persons, the physical load, even during a period of malaise, must remain large enough, but feasible.
It is up to the client to regulate the load as he feels. Self-regulation will allow him to keep his work capacity to a high level.
Reason 3. Monotone work can also lead to a decrease in the working capacity of a person. Such work generates a state of fatigue and lowers the capacity for work of a person not because it is beyond his power and heavy, but because of his purely psychological tedium. This is a very common factor in the decline in working capacity, which is practically encountered in all people, regardless of what they have to do in life, since any kind of labor can contain elements of monotony and, therefore, lead to fatigue.
The practical solution to the problem of improving efficiency in this case is to minimize the monotony in human activity, to make it as diverse and interesting as possible. To do this, you need to carefully analyze what this person is doing during the day, think over the mode of his life in such a way that the conditions and nature of the work more or less systematically changed. As for the definition of time intervals during which a person's work can remain monotonous, it is desirable to use the recommendations already expressed in discussing the first reason for their clarification.
The optimal is the mode of operation in which significant mental loads in one period of time alternate in a person with moderate or weak physical exertion in other periods of time, and vice versa: significant physical exertion in some moments of activity is accompanied by moderate or weak mental loads in others moments of human activity.
Note that at the same time it is not recommended to combine strong or weak physical loads with the same mental loads, since in this case the heavy loads of one type or another can themselves cause fatigue. Weak mental and physical loads do not promote the shift of attention from one activity to another.
The task of alternating mental and physical loads is to ensure that restoring a person's performance in one type of activity does not tire him with another kind of activity.
Reason 4. The next reason for the decline in performance may simply not be an interesting job for a person. Here the problem of maintaining efficiency at the proper level is mainly of a motivational nature and, consequently, a means of improving the working capacity of a person relates to enhancing the motivation of his activity.
Consider how this could be done in practice. But first of all we will find out what really affects a person's motivation. We use for this purpose the following formula:
MD. - activity motivation;
NZP is the most significant need associated with this activity;
Vu.iz.p. - the probability of meeting the most significant need in the relevant activity;
0.Up.p.p. - expectation of satisfaction of this need in this type of activity;
D.p. - other human needs that can be satisfied with this activity;
Vu.d. - the likelihood of meeting other human needs in this type of activity;
O.u.d. - expectation of satisfaction of other human needs in this type of activity.
Consider the general principles of applying this formula to the solution of the problem of increasing the motivation of human activity.
MD. is the power of a person's real desire to engage in the appropriate activity. The more MD, , the higher the human performance, and vice versa, the smaller MD, the lower the working capacity of a person. The main way to increase and preserve the working capacity of a person is, respectively, in strengthening MD.
What does the motivation for activity depend on? First of all, on the strength of the most significant need, which can be satisfied with the help of this type of activity. In the above formula, the force of the corresponding requirement is denoted as NZP. (the most significant need). If the occupation by the corresponding activity corresponds to this human need, it will maintain the person's interest in the activity and, therefore, keep it functioning.
But unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it often turns out that one, the most significant need to maintain interest in activities is not enough. Then the motivation of the activity must be strengthened by attracting to management the activities of other motives and human needs, which can also be satisfied through appropriate activities. There may be several such needs, and they are indicated in the above formula with the abbreviation DP. (other needs).
In addition to the needs themselves, the motivation may be influenced by additional factors, such as the probability of meeting the needs and expecting that in this situation the relevant needs will indeed be met.
A man is a reasonable being, and every time he proceeds to concrete actions, he is guided by certain motives, estimates how much his needs can really be satisfied.
If they can be fully satisfied, then his interest in the activity and, therefore, the performance will be the highest. If, when starting an activity, a person does not anticipate in advance the full satisfaction of actual needs under given conditions, then his interest in the activity and, accordingly, the capacity for work in it will be much lower than in the first case.
The same goes for the expectation of success. With an absolute expectation of success, motivation will be stronger than with a partial expectation of success. Both of them - the probability of satisfying the need and the expectation of success - can be regarded as the most significant need (<>> and 0.n.n.p.) in and to other needs (v.d. and O.U.D.).
Let's consider now on a concrete example how the psychologist-consultant can practically use this formula. Let's say that a client turned to a psychologist, who complains that he has been engaged in creative work for a long time, but recently his work capacity has significantly decreased. Suppose also that all the other reasons for the decline in working capacity that have been considered so far in the process of consulting work with this client were not revealed to him and there was only one, the last reason related to the possible lack of motivation for activity.
Then the counselor-psychologist will have to begin to develop this particular version of the reason and work with the client according to the following plan. For example:
1. In an interview with a client, try to understand yourself and, in addition, help the client realize those needs for the sake of satisfaction of which he is engaged in this type of activity, where the decrease in his efficiency has occurred. The consultant and the client will need to work together to determine why the client's performance has decreased.
It is possible that this happened because the activities of the corresponding type of activity at the given moment of time no longer fully satisfy the client's needs. For example, it could happen that earlier this person (he may be a scientist, a writer, an engineer or an artist) received quite decent fees for the results of his creative work, but now his creative work has actually depreciated.
2. Together with the client, try to find new, additional incentives in his work. Such incentives could be other motives and needs, which he had not yet thought about and which could well be satisfied with this type of activity.
In order to find these additional motivations in practice, it is necessary to determine, for the sake of which, in addition to meeting the main need, the client is ready to engage in the same type of activity that he is currently engaged in. Having found and specifying such motives for the client, it is necessary to rebuild the hierarchy of his needs, underlying the corresponding activity, so that the top step in it is now occupied by new motives and needs.
Psychologically, this means that you need to change or give a new meaning to your previous activities. If, for example, it turns out that before the creative work the client was engaged mainly for the sake of earning, then - for prestige, recognition from the surrounding people, now he must try to convince himself that self-esteem can mean for a person no less than prestige and earnings. Convincing the client in this, you can further restore his working capacity through increased motivation and increased internal interest in creative work.
3. The third desirable step towards strengthening motivation is to examine the conditions of his life together with the client and prove that in reality the client has a much better chance of meeting his most significant and other needs through appropriate activities than he had thought so far that the expectation of success for him is objectively higher than he previously thought.
In our example, this means the following: explain to the client that with his creative work you can not only earn more, but achieve that he is more respected and that he himself appreciates himself as a person.
By counseling the client on these issues, the psychologist together with him should find ways and draw the attention of the client himself on how best to achieve the desired result. In practical terms, in relation to, for example, a person who has lost his capacity for work, this means, in particular, that together with him it is necessary to develop a concrete, very real plan for such practical actions designed for the immediate future, the implementation of which must restore and increase the lost efficiency client.
Reason 5. The next possible reason for the decline in performance may be unpleasant experiences of the client, related to events and affairs in his life, not having a direct relationship to the work that he is currently doing.
This reason is usually not directly related to the activities that a person is engaged in, and, therefore, the ways of eliminating it lie outside the regulation of the motivation or content of the relevant activity.
The conclusion about the existence of this reason for the client's decline in efficiency comes in the event that during the conversation with him, there is no evidence of any of the previously considered reasons. However, for an unmistakable conclusion that this is the real reason, it is necessary to directly confirm the fact of its existence.
This can be done, for example, as a result of analyzing the client's answers to the following questions (they are usually asked the client after it is firmly established that the reasons described above are not really valid):
• What happened in your life until that moment or at a time when you really felt that your performance was starting to decline?
• What reaction did you trigger this event?
• What have you done to cope with the problem that has arisen?
• Did you manage to solve this problem? If it did not, why?
If the client answers to these questions, it turns out that some significant events in his life in recent times have really occurred, if in addition, it is found that among these events were very unpleasant, giving the client long negative experiences, if Finally, it turns out that the client tried to deal with them, but could not, and the corresponding problems have not been solved yet, then all of this leads to the conclusion that the reason for the decline in working capacity in question does exist. In this case, together with the client, it will be necessary to start searching for a way to solve it and to eliminate the cause corresponding to it.
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