Get out of your comfort zone and try everything once
That's what we tell the kids when they don't want to do an activity or try a food – got to set an example for them (sigh). After all, "Do what you always did and get what you always got" – that's the saying. So I take up opportunities when they present themselves. I'll give things a go from the perspective that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I might love it, I might hate it; but either way it'll have been a valuable experience and I'll have locked something away for a rainy day. I've learned that ice skating is definitely not for me.
Stop trying to solve the problem
We've all been there. Trying to crack a brief that is like the walnut that no set of nutcrackers can get into. There's a point where the more you try, the more the solution eludes you. And the clock is ticking. That's the point where the moment of inspiration comes by walking away from the problem. It's counterintuitive, but doing something that actively takes your mind off whatever problem you are trying to solve and focuses your energy elsewhere, suddenly provides the spark of inspiration that you needed. Read a book, go for a run, get on your bike, go for a walk… whatever takes your fancy. But do something else and trust that your mind is busy solving problems in the background. Pay attention and get ready to nurture that spark into a fire.
A bit of pressure and a looming deadline helps
Remember when you forgot to do your science homework and your only chance to get it done was the 20-minute mid-morning break and somehow, not only would you manage to get it done, but you'd produce a piece of work that even the harshest of teachers was proud of? The pressure of a deadline, and therefore lack of options for procrastination or farting around, the rush of adrenaline and endorphins as you achieve the kind of laser focus reserved for Bradley Cooper in Limitless. Granted, it's a bit of a gamble, but every once in a while, backing yourself into a corner only gives you one option. Come out swinging.
A power hour
Get up an hour before everyone else (or stay up after everyone else has gone to bed if you're a night owl) and create some time for yourself. I've got a busy house. There are four kids aged between two and 12, which means I don't really get any time to myself. So for the past decade or so, I've taken to getting up an hour before everyone else. It's a selfish moment in my day that is for me to read, write, scroll, do some admin, work out… and often by switching my brain off, random connections are made and problems get solved. Unfortunately, my youngest has now cottoned on to the concept of the power hour… so now I have some early morning company and we have a right old laugh, which is my favourite way to start the day.
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