Occasionally, you should take time out to stop and evaluate why you are doing the things that you are doing. Slow down to think if what you’re doing is the best idea or not. Brainstorm with pen and paper (yes, actually grab a pad of paper and a pencil). The best ideas come by brainstorming, which provides an opportunity to evaluate your productivity, your methodology, and your overall goal. Brainstorming brings diversity of knowledge and perspectives effective for a more forward looking career. Brainstorming is a great activity, but it’s also good to talk to someone about what you are doing, in order to help establish the purpose.
Take someone you admire out to lunch and pick their brain. Tell them about what you are doing to get feedback from them. Write down their responses, whether you believe them or not, and thank them for their time. Make sure you pay for their meal. Successful people like to share what they know (that’s why I have this blog) so don’t be afraid to ask them.
Also, keep yourself up on new technology and continue educating yourself to keep yourself alive and fresh. It’s easy to become stale no matter what business you’re in. Try to spend at least 2-3 hours a week just researching and finding new ideas. It’s hard to break away from the normal routine but brainstorming with new ideas is refreshing and can renew enthusiasm. This is part of innovation and entrepreneurship, which looks for innovations in changes in technology, among other things. It could be that the way you have been doing things is no longer relevant at worst or at the very least, no longer efficient. Ask yourself the following four questions:
1. Is there any new technology I could be using? — Technology may have become more efficient since you first developed your original time-saving method. Relying on an old template could be costing you time and money.
2. Have I learned any new ideas lately that I need to apply here? — You may have acquired some new skills or read about some new ideas that will handle your project even better than the time-saving technique that you are using now.
3. Are there new requirements that mean that I need to review this process? — The client may have updated his or her requirements for their projects. Using your old template or time-saving tools may not meet the client’s newest requirements.
4. Are there any other new tools I could be using? — There may be new tools or resources available to do the work that weren’t originally available when you developed your template.
At least once a month I block off an hour to go into a dark room and just wait for ideas to come. I don’t anticipate thinking about any one thing, but there is something about the pitch black silence that allows great ideas to surface. I’ve had many revelations, not just about business or problem solving, but figuring out why I thought certain ways about certain things. It’s a chance to re-evaluate all aspects of your life and help you determine your purpose in life or in process.