Leadership examined

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates

Life seems to move at the speed of light, and most leaders don’t feel they have the luxury of stepping back to reflect. Yes, you may do a project debrief when you finish a chunk of work. But when was the last time you took the time to reflect on your organization or your leadership as a whole?

The downside of examining our work in bits and pieces is that we don’t see patterns of thinking, behavior and results. We miss the interconnections between the success of Project A with the missteps with Client B.

How do you focus on the bigger picture without the luxury of lots of time?

Journal. I used to dismiss the benefits of journaling, until I tried it. I know I struggle with doing something every day, so I don’t hold myself to that rigid standard. Regular journaling, however, has helped me see connections that I would have otherwise missed. I recognized patterns in my behavior that worked and some that didn’t. I also was able to see progress over time by re-reading entries from months earlier. Quite motivating!

Use words and pictures. While I tend to be a word person, I find that visualizing problems and solutions in pictures unleashes new thinking and insights. It isn’t easy for me, and that is why the payoff is so great.

Get away. A change of space often frees the mind. Even something as simple as relocating to the coffee shop for 20 minutes can unleash your creativity. Just stay focused on asking your “why?” questions, rather than chatting with your fellow caffeine imbibers.

You don’t have to escape to a mountain retreat to find some space for contemplation. Turn off your media for ten minutes and tune into the big picture. You may be amazed at what your “examined life” produces.

Want some help discovering connections and patterns? Contact Humanergy.

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Handwritten notes boost learning and creativity

When was the last time you sat down to compose something on paper, rather than the computer or your iPad? In fact, writing by hand boosts neural activity that can help you learn faster and be more creative.

An article in the Wall Street Journal Online cites research that shows that both adults and children learn more effectively by hand writing versus keyboarding. What are the implications for work?

Take hand-written notes in meetings. You’ll retain more, and the act of handwriting can help you make connections that you otherwise would not. The outcome is more creative brainpower to address problems.

Doodle. A pen in your hand will promote drawing on your paper. Rather than being inattentive, doodlers actually retain 29% more information about what happened in the meetings. Doodling actually gives you just enough cognitive stimulation to prevent you from zoning out completely.

Start with hand-writing. If you’re tasked with writing something at work, don’t just start tapping away at the keyboard. Get out a piece of paper and start writing, drawing pictures and making connections. The beauty of paper is that you can draw arrows to show relationships, and do other non-linear thinking/notations. Once you do sit down at the keyboard, your written work will be a more accurate representation of the complexity and interconnections within your subject.

Journal. Here’s your excuse to invest in an attractive place to keep your work notes and general thoughts. Regular journaling has been shown to have many physical and psychological benefits, including stress reduction and a strengthened immune system. Written expression of your feelings, perspectives and thoughts can help you understand yourself better, solve problems and resolve long-standing issues.

The pen may be mightier than the sword.  It’s also a powerful weapon in your quest to be productive and healthy!

Have needs that Humanergy can fill? Contact us

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