This is a guest post by Stephen P. Smith.
Stuck in a rut? Tired of the same-old same-old day in and day out? Let’s make a few small changes in the way you work for a big impact on your results and personal satisfaction in a job well done. Injecting some “capital-C” Creativity into the work that you do every day can make it more rewarding, quite possibly more productive and definitely more fun.
Change number 1: Shake Up Your Routine
One of the easiest ways to get Creative at work is to re-arrange the way that you do things. Provided that you have the kind of job that you can re-arrange your daily agenda, you should do so simply to gain a new perspective.
When I was the manager of a restaurant and had the opening shift in the morning, I used to sneak into the office to check my email first thing. I didn’t need to worry about the dining room, because the staffer on duty was setting up. As the pace picked up in the summer season though, I found it beneficial to change my routine by checking email later.
Those emails would be there after the breakfast rush, and 99% of the time they weren’t so urgent they couldn’t wait. Instead, I took those first few minutes to walk around the restaurant – poke my head into the closets and storage areas, behind the bar, and into the coolers. This gave me a snapshot of projects that could be assigned over the course of the day as well as alerting me to potential trouble spots or maintenance issues.
Think about how you can re-organize your daily routine and get a better picture of your work environment.
Change number 2: Change Your Surroundings
It may not be possible for you to move your desk or re-arrange the furniture in your workspace, but you would be surprised at the benefits of making some changes.
Are your reference files handy, easy to reach from where you sit? Do you have enough light for your keyboard area or where you do your writing? Is the equipment on your desk arranged in the best, most productive way?
Take a look at your workspace, or better yet, invite a co-worker or colleague to sit down in your chair and ask them about changes that they might suggest. Is there a file-sorter or paper tray taking up space because you never use it? Get rid of it!
Remember, you sit in that chair for who-knows how many hours every day and that space needs to be as comforting and inviting as it is efficient. There is nothing comforting about a stack of binders on the corner of your desk because you might need to refer to them. Sometime.
Try turning your desk 90 degrees. Clear off all of the stuff that you don’t use. Then sit down and do something remarkable.
Change number 3: Change Your Point of View
Can you imagine how someone else would do your job? How would your parents have done what you do? Or a fresh-faced kid right out of college? Someone with a different political/religious/philosophical background?
Taking a look at your work from the perspective of a different person can give you insights into doing your work better.
Imagine that you are training a new hire to take over for you because you’re getting a promotion. Can you make a list of all of the job functions that you perform? What skills would that person need to have or gain before you moved along? Make a list of these skills, then rate yourself on your strengths and weaknesses (or go to Strengthsfinder.com ).
Next take a good look at the skills that you are best at and consider how to use them more. Under-utilized strengths can cause frustration and dissatisfaction at work. Is there someone that you can “trade” your work with? Perhaps they can do some you the things that you aren’t that good at and you can take on tasks of theirs.
Change for the Sake of Change
You get stuck in a rut for a reason: because you keep doing the same things, over and over, in the same place. When animals do that they create a trail, and soon become a meal for something smart enough to follow that trail. Don’t let your creativity fall prey to routine.
You need to do something different to break out of that rut and into something new. Something amazing. Don’t be afraid of change, you don’t have to change everything at once. I would encourage you to make a series of small changes, consistently, and watch for them to lead to a sequence of increasingly larger successes.
Here’s to getting creative!
Stephen P Smith is the Editor of Work.Life.Creativity, an online forum and community where people share tips and advice for putting more Creativity into their Life and Work. Stephen has been a restaurant manager, car salesman, and freelance marketing consultant. You can follow him on Twitter at @hdbbstephen and add him to your Google+ Circles via gplus.stephenpsmith.com
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