Shut Off Your Laptop, Boost Creativity

Creativity doesn’t usually occur while you’re screen-sucking.

To boost your number of creative ideas, you might consider getting away from your computer and introducing your brain to some new stimuli every now and then.

7 ways that work for me:

  1. Enjoy coffee at a cafe (without iPhone, iPad, or laptop).
  2. Take a walk outside.
  3. Play ball with my dogs.
  4. Listen to music.
  5. Read fiction.
  6. Talk with another human about Stuff That Matters.
  7. Take a nap.

Those are some of my ways of boosting creativity. You will have your own. Just try to do something  that doesn’t involve the Internet.

To quote John Cleese: “We don’t know where we get our ideas from. We do know that we do not get them from our laptops.”

The One-Item To-Do List

Try this as a stress-reduction technique: only one thing on your to-do list each day.

I know it sounds crazy. I’m not suggesting you only do one thing each day. But make yourself a list at the beginning of the day with one item on it that “must” be done.

The thing that, if you only did one thing today, this would be it. Consider anything else you do a bonus.

Now: make your One Thing the first thing.

Trust me – this is a stress-buster that works. It is also a great tool for releasing you from bondage to Insanely Unrealistic To-Do Lists.

Fear Is A Prison Of Our Own Making

I can’t help but notice how some have seized on the anniversary of the events of 9/11/2001 to further their own agendas, stir up anger and fear, and — to my dismay — even to sell products.

Look, I’m a marketer. I believe in entrepreneurship. But I think it’s far beneath any of us to fan the flames of fear for personal gain.

No matter how bad the events that happen around us may be, and no matter how out of control we may feel, we have been endowed with an ability no mere animal has: the ability to control our response to those external circumstances.

We can choose whether we will dwell in anger, in love… or in fear.

If we purposely live in fear or anger – or if we encourage others to do so – don’t we empower the very evil we say we oppose?

Fear is a prison that locks us into patterns of smallness.

As an American, I too feel the sadness of the loss we all suffered on this day nine years ago. But I will not be defined by another’s act of evil.

And I will not be driven to hate other men because of it — especially not in the name of God. The God I follow, when beaten and bloodied and killed by the very ones he came to save, said the following: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I want to follow that example.

What if we turned this day into a day to show love to our brothers and sisters, instead of sowing seeds of fear and anger? What if we decided to reap a harvest of forgiveness and reconciliation, instead of a harvest of bitterness?

I’m not saying it would be easy. Maybe, for mere men, it’s even impossible.

But what if we tried?

How Many Ideas Have You Killed?

Did you ever have a “great idea” for a business or a project, and then “think it to death”? In other words, turn it over in your mind until the shine was off it, and you were no longer excited about it?

What happens next is… you don’t follow through on the idea, right? It just didn’t seem as exciting as you first thought it was.

I wonder what would happen if you started implementing your ideas so quickly there wasn’t time for the shine to wear off?

One thing for sure: you’d get more ideas shipped.

Seems like that might be a good thing.

Dear Postmaster – Please Stop This

The United States Post Office is not having its greatest year.

The venerable organization is struggling in the face of alternative delivery mechanisms like email, instant messenger, and a general decline in letter-writing.

They need some innovation to bring in more sales. They’re trying harder. I get that. And I applaud it. But…

Lately I’ve been faced with an unpleasant scenario at my local post office. It goes like this: I approach the understaffed counter and say, “I’d like to send this book at the book rate, please.”. Then the employee behind the counter, with a glassy look in her eyes, begins to recite all the rate options, beginning with Express Mail and working her way down the price scale.

I listen, and when she’s done I say again, “Book rate, please.”

She runs my postage, and then takes my second book package. I say, “It’s the same.”

“I have to tell you all the options,” she says.

I protest that I already know what I want, but she insists. Meanwhile, the line behind me is building.

Then the Postal worker proceeds to try and sell me a bunch more stuff. Again, I applaud the effort. But the execution is very, very poor.

My apathetic Postal employee insisted it’s a policy and she has no choice.

Is this really a rule for all Postal workers? Does anyone realize it’s a Sales Prevention Mechanism – and not a sales making mechanism? What happens when your customers get tired of being insulted and decide they’d rather ship UPS?

I actually love the USPS and its services – but this policy of forcing me to listen to the litany of options, if it is indeed a policy, is asinine.

Dear Postmaster: I advise you to reconsider. Fast.

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