- Daily Zen
The other day, a reader told me her biggest struggle. She said, “My startup has reached $25 million in revenue over one ‘obsolete’ product I had launched four years ago. My biggest struggle is that I keep failing to progress towards my goal, which is to truly innovate to something bigger and better.” In my numerous discussions with creative business leaders over the last few years, I have realized that highly creative leaders adhere to peculiar habits. They do not operate in a single, identical way. They do not have special minds, rather their eccentric personalities are based around a series of distinctive habits. So, in the rest of this article, I’m sharing the powerful habits of innovation leaders. Pick one for your personal-professional goals and work through it.
A) BEGIN THE DAY WITH A PURPOSE
How often do you rush yourself out of the door without any clarity about your day’s work? The best practice done in the morning before checking your phone or email is ‘setting an intention’.
Creative business leaders wake up early and begin each day with clarity and direction. By doing so, they are paving the way to be mindful, even during bursts of stress. You can start this practice by using the below given prompts:
What is my intention for today?
How will I feel more connected and fulfilled?
Start your day earlier. Give yourself a few moments to focus on a favorite thing: reading, writing, drinking a cup of coffee. I would suggest to avoid one thing in the morning – email, your cellphone rather. Checking your phone in them morning can derail your “first shift”. Once you’re done with this, you can schedule your time for each task you have set for the day so it becomes easier to accomplish.
B) VARYING ROUTINE
We are biologically wired to stay within the comfort zone to avoid the unnecessary pain that comes from stepping into the unknown. There is nothing wrong with staying in your safer zone, but there comes a point when we have to stretch beyond the boundaries to let ourselves grow.
Most of us live with the illusion that we have tomorrow to alter our routine, in order to do something we haven’t done yet. We keep procrastinating until one day when we ultimately ditch the pursuit.
The worst thing we have done to ourselves it to settle in the illusion of comfort. Our body and mind crave for a routine. A daily routine is our way of gravitating towards safer zone. When we’re in our comfort zone, doing the same thing every day you’re creating a barrier to exploring new ideas, paths, disciplines etc. Comfort kills productivity and creativity.
Creative leaders pursue new opportunities that go beyond the comfort zone, even if it means taking one step closer into the unknown. They ask, learn, observe and try new things out, every day. They keep experimenting with variation.
You can start by varying your wake up time, exercise time, etc. You can even make subtle changes to your routine to bring new energy and excitement, while maintaining productivity. When you first start varying your routines, you won’t hit a bullet-proof productivity style in the first go. It will take time and efforts. But, you will be there eventually.
By being mindful, creative business leaders allow themselves to become more productive, innovative, and improve their overall work performance and wellbeing.
Often, we let ourselves be lazy and mindless when we’re doing tasks we don’t enjoy. This is because when we’re doing something, we have already done it 1000 times, our mind doesn’t pay much attention. It wanders off after going on auto-pilot.
Next time you’re doing a task you don’t necessarily enjoy, focus all your awareness on the task at hand. Don’t rush to end the tasks or let your mind get caught up in the banter. For example, when you’re taking lunch, eat with all your awareness. Be fully present in the moment, with all your awareness savoring the tastes and textures of the food, one morsel at a time. Use more such small and practical ways to bring zen into whatever it is you’re doing.
In the past few weeks, I have indulged myself into trying a few of these techniques myself. I have been more productive, creative and less stressed while at work than ever before. What do you think? Apart from the aforementioned habits of innovation leaders are there any others you would like to propose? Share it in the comments.