I’m a process-driven guy. I feel comfort in knowing what’s going to happen, the next steps, and what we need to do to get the job done. Some people use this as a crutch, going through arbitrary steps but for me I feel like I can dive in and not worry about what comes next. Why does this matter? Because I’ve grown up on the account management side of the office. So it comes naturally to me that I need to keep one eye on the clock, one on the inbox, and one on the creatives.
And when I moved into a strategy role, a position that allowed me to take an eye off the inbox I realized that I was so hooked on doing things on time that I couldn’t turn it off. I needed to do something to break myself of this horrible habit. I needed to trust that someone in the room was taking my place and that I could now use my brain in a new way.
The key for me was my morning shower. I hate to say this (being a sailor and a compassionate human being), but I wasted a lot of water as new ideas came to me. I also found myself taking the local train to work rather than the express. And, yes, sometimes I’ll take an extra few moments on my bathroom breaks during the day.
Like everyone else, I found that freeing my mind requires breaking free from routine. It requires a commitment and a leap of faith that I can be less than uber-responsible for a few moments here or there.
So what does this mean to you? If you want creative, unique and innovative thinking you just might need to go out of your way to break your own rules.