Some routines are good. Doctors say going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day helps you stay healthy. Familiar patterns—like regular exercise and brushing your teeth before bed—can help reduce stress and keep you grounded. But taken too far, routines can also become a problem. Doing the same thing all day, over and over, can decrease your creative thinking and blunt your competitive edge.
You and your work spend a lot of time together. Over the years, you may have started to take each other for granted. Does your workweek feel like the ‘ole ball and chain? Would you rather it be the launch pad for your best self and life? When your workweek is structured to focus your creative energy on the right work at the right time, you’ll stay energized and effective. These three steps can help take you there.
When you’re given an opportunity—whether it’s a promotion, potential customer, or learning experience—the most natural response is to say yes. Why not accept a higher salary? Why refuse a chance to study abroad? The reality, however, is that most of us say yes too much, too quickly, and without enough thought. We’re wired to please others, and we’ve been conditioned to think all opportunities are good things. So instead of always saying yes, ask yourself these five questions first.
Esprit de corps. Shared purpose. Putting our heads together. Conventional wisdom suggests that group effort is essential to success in the workplace. But when it comes to finding creative inspiration, too much face-to-face team time might actually put us at a disadvantage. Great minds may think alike, but do we really think better together?
You work up your courage, take a deep a breath, and say it: “I think I’m losing myself in this relationship.” Your smartphone stares back blankly. You forge ahead with your list of concerns: losing touch with your goals and passions, sacrificing sleep and other basic needs, no longer feeling fully in control of your life. “I do not understand the question,” responds your virtual assistant. But the answer is already clear: It’s time you and your tech took a much-needed break.
Ever notice how your “Eureka” moments usually happen when you’re on the go and out of the office? It’s hard to find flow in a cubicle. And there’s a good reason for that. You’re sitting in a box. Next time you’re feeling stuck and your mind seems as blank as your screen, remember this: studies show body movement can unlock creative ways of thinking—no matter what kind of problem you’re trying to solve. Here’s how to use physical activity to get out of a rut and get your imagination in motion.