4 Simple tips how to regain creativity and be a better version of yourself
In Chris Lewis‘ book „Too fast to think“ he points out the external factors which can hinder you from being creative and fully unleash your potential. Now this will just sound something like you may know — you are working on a concept for a new feature and your mind is stuck in traffic. You are feeling the inner roadblock and your creativity shuts off.
The deadline is near and you need to function. What to do? aking these advices from Chris Lewis will help you rekindle with the strength that got you the job in the first place and put you back in the position you’d like to be.
Rising stress levels due to constantly checking emails and browsing through Social Media.
Social media has changed how people think about the world”and how they interact with each other. It alters the traditional way of human behaviour and interaction.
Disrupting whatever you do to check your emails and Social Media. Sounds familiar? Yep — we tend to listen less to people and rather check our phones. That right there destroys human interaction. Now you may ask yourself how is this relevant for me as a Product Owner? Get your head around this — do you feel like you have the full communication capabilities to express yourself in front of your team most of the time? You may find these truths to be somewhat impactful on your behaviour towards your team and how you interact with each member. In the digital world we prefer texting over calling. There is a lack of face to face communication and therefore lack of speaking, which influences what people say to each other. You are using emojis to express yourself and so on.
Our current generation embracing social life
As a Product Owner you need to demonstrate good communication skills. You are the link between Customer, Marketing and the business after all. Now it would be stupid to say checking your emails and being on Social Media has an impact on your teams performance, however try this for yourself — Does cutting off the digital distraction once in a while help you become more aware of your teams problems and communicate to them more easily? Find it out for yourself.
Let your brain rest for the sake of creativity
To „reclaim your creativity“ as Chris Lewis outlines you need to understand how your brain works. Tasks are tackled by two hemispheres. The left brain, which is responsible for critical thinking, analysis and language and the right brain for creative functions (faces, colors, reading emotions). Both work together. Meeting a new person triggers your left brain to analyse aspects such as gestures, how someone dresses etc. After approximately 10 minutes in case you feel affinity towards that person your left brain will go into the relax mode and your right brain will kick in to allow for emotions such as empathy and friendliness.
You can train your left and right brain to develop. Right brain activities can be enhanced for instance by writing or dancing. However watch out that you don’t overload your brain. It is of utmost importance that you rest your brain so your creative mind stays in tact.
The magical word is sleep as Chris Lewis underlines. Sleep is highly underrated as a factor which influences your performance. Getting enough sleep also makes sure your brain is restored and you can fully dedicate yourself to your tasks. So when you are confident you can finish that analysis tonight but really the deadline isn’t tomorrow morning — go home and give your brain a rest. You’ll feel refreshed the next morning.
Chris Lewis — “Swap your “To Do List” for a “To Be List”
After reaching out to Chris he told me to swap my “to do List” for a “to be list”. I have to admit it took me a while until I fully understood how I can translate this to my needs.
In today’s society everyone is under stress to perform at their best and be labeled as successful. If you are not successful you miss out. You are looked down at, you don’t belong. Period.
There’s millions of To Do Lists how to be successful out there but these rules or guidelines cannot be implemented one to one. Here’s a simple example. You are the Product Owner of a dedicated software development team and want to improve the self-organisation skills within the team. You figure out for yourself that the best way to do so is to attend a course on management techniques and team building excercises. You visit the course, write down notes and go home. During the following weeks you take that advice and tell your team about what you’d like to change. Weeks go by but nothing changes. Where did you fail? You were so focused on telling your team about what needs to be changed but the change did not happen for yourself. Therefore all that valuable advice that you stored in your brain was passed on but you did not take it further and really looked beyond that.
Another relevant example within the agile world. Doing Agile vs. Being Agile. Take a look at the following graphic:
Copyright by agilitrix (http://agilitrix.com).
You can always take a framework and put it to practice, however don’t forget the soft factors. After all it is a framework and only a guideline. You need to add value to it. The apple is an apple but doesn’t an apple taste even better when you chop it up and add a little bit of yoghurt and honey?
Finding back your inner creativity is not a magical formula that you will find in the books. However there are ways and techniques to stay focused and eliminate external factors. Don’t take everything as it is but translate it into something meaningful.
- Let Go — Stop checking emails and Social Media constantly as it will stress you out
- Get enough sleep
- Develop your left and right brain functions but don’t overload it
- Swap your “To Do List” for a “To Be List”
Let me know what changes in your life did the job for you.