Do you ever notice that you get more ideas (and get them faster) when you step aside from your normal business routine? I can sit at my computer for what seems like hours struggling to write a blog post or put together a proposal. Then, the moment I step away from my desk to grab a soda, I get all kinds of inspiration.
A change of scenery, even one as simple as standing up from your desk, can do wonders for your creativity — and for your business. As summer winds to a close, there’s no better time than now to break away from your usual routine and try something new.
How to Gain a Fresh Perspective
Even the smallest changes can have big effects on your outlook, freeing you up to see business problems, opportunities and solutions in new ways. Here are 25 ways to “shake it up” and gain a new perspective.
1. Take the afternoon off and use the time to do something you’ve never done before.
2. Take a vacation to a place you’ve never been — better yet, somewhere where you don’t speak the language.
3. Switch places with one of your employees for a day and see what you learn. Choose a job that exposes you to something you don’t normally deal with, like answering customer service calls or handling shipping and receiving.
4. You know that one thing you keep meaning to do, but you “never have time” to do it? Set your alarm for an hour earlier than normal and use that hour to get it done.
5. Take a different employee out to lunch every day.
6. Attend an industry event or conference you’ve never gone to before.
7. Change your work environment. Try working outside or in a coffee house. Paint your office.
8. Move your desk, or relax on the couch while you work. If you work at home, try working in a different room than you normally do.
9. Try standing up while you make phone calls. (That might lead you to invest in a sit-stand desk.)
10. Get rid of the clutter on and around your workspace (you know, all of the things that have been there so long, you don’t even notice them anymore). See how it feels to work in a streamlined space.
11. Switch up your route to the office. Try taking a different way every day for a week. Pay attention to the scenery.
12. If you normally drive to the office, ride your bike or take public transportation instead.
13. Read a book about business by a successful entrepreneur, and see what you learn.
14. Sleep with your head at the foot of your bed for a night to get a new perspective.
15. Take a sabbatical from screens. Disconnect from your email, your smartphone, your social media, your streaming shows, etc., for just one weekend day. Stay unplugged. You’ll be surprised what ideas arise when you aren’t constantly distracted.
16. Commit 10 minutes a day to doing mindful meditation. If you’re too rushed to do it in the morning, try doing it right before bed.
17. Explore a part of your town where you’ve never been before.
18. Choose a TED talk on a topic that interests you (it doesn’t have to be business) and watch it.
19. Find an expert in a subject you want to learn more about. See if you can buy them coffee or lunch (or Skype or FaceTime them) and ask questions.
20. Find a peer group of other small business owners in your area or your industry. Get together to share your business challenges and suggest solutions. Listening to how other people handle problems, even if (especially if) they aren’t in your industry, can be enlightening.
21. Choose a new genre of music you’ve never listened to and explore it.
22. Experiment with different background music as you work and see how it affects your focus and energy.
23. Volunteer for a community organization. Spending some time working with children, people experiencing homelessness, or abandoned animals will give you a new perspective.
24. Mentor another small business owner who’s starting up. You’ll realize you know more than you think you do.
25. Next time you’re trying to come up with ideas, put away your computer and try writing with a pen and paper instead. It can help spur more creative thinking. (This works for me.)
When it’s time to shake things up, how do you get a new perspective? Share your suggestions in the comments below.
Photo via Shutterstock
I love to attend a couple conferences each year. I also have found a lot of success turning off my phone and sitting down for at least an hour with nothing but a pencil and notebook.
Robert: What kind of conferences to you attend?
Sometimes, you need to go out and really meet your customers to understand what they feel and meet their needs.
It is important to change what you are doing in order to gain a fresh perspective. This will move you out of your box and into other people’s shoes.
Do you have a routine in ordet to change what you are doing, on a regular basis?
All the Best,
I think this is important not just for businesses but in your daily tasks as well. You have to regularly change it up to keep it fresh.
The change of sleeping position was a fun tip! 😉
I like your last tip with writing on paper with a pen. I have started a podcast with two fountain pen enthusiasts, and we are talking about pens, paper, ink, and the importance of an analog moment in a digital world, now and then.
This is a fantastic article. I work with small to medium-sized business owners to help them grow. Too often we have to stop working together even though by all measures the business is flourishing – all due to psychology. I’d like to add that this advice is especially great for small business owners who constantly feel monopolistic mega businesses are about to take away their livelihoods. If you can change your perspective, maybe realize that your service is unique, you can find the strength to continue against adversity AND better understand who your customers are.