Advertising
Advertising

Unleash your Inner Genius

Unleash your Inner Genius
Your Inner Genius

    Let’s say you are wrestling with a tough issue – maybe at work, at home, with your children or in your social life. You have been stuck for a while and you can’t seem to make a breakthrough. You want to come up with some really creative ideas. What can you do? Here are ten great practical ways to boost your inventiveness and to crack the problem:

    1. Ask why, why? Ask, ‘why has this issue arisen?’ Come up with six different reasons and for each of them ask, ‘why did this happen?’ Keep asking why for each cause. This helps you to better understand the different reasons why this is a problem and so in turn you will see different possible solutions.

    Advertising

    2. Sleep on it. Ponder the issue and all its aspects for some time and then put it out of your mind. Get a good night’s sleep. The subconscious mind goes to work and often you come up with great ideas the next day.

    3. Talk it over with someone who has nothing to do with the situation. They will often ask basic questions or make seemingly silly suggestions that prompt good ideas. Two heads are better than one but people who are too close to the issue will often come up with the same ideas as you, so try an outsider.

    Advertising

    4. Ask how some celebrity would tackle the issue – what would Steve Jobs do? Or Bob Geldof , or Richard Branson, or Salvador Dali or Margaret Thatcher or Madonna or Sherlock Holmes? Take each individual’s approach to its extremes and it will likely give you some radical solutions.

    5. Pick up any object at random and say to yourself, ‘this item contains the key to solving the problem.’ Then force some ideas. Try this with several different objects and you will have a selection of radical and inventive ideas.

    Advertising

    6. Use similes. Try to think of a different problem in another walk of life that is like your problem. Say you want your staff at work to try new ways of working. You might imagine that this is like getting your children to eat vegetables. List various methods you might use with your children to encourage or persuade them to try vegetables. Then go through the list and then see if any of the ideas can be converted into things you can try at work.

    7. Imagine an ideal solution in a world where there are no constraints -e.g. you can use any resource you want. Now work back from that ideal and challenge each of the constraints that is holding you back from achieving it. Many of the obstacles can be overcome when you take this approach.

    Advertising

    8. Open a dictionary and take any noun at random. Write down six attributes of that noun – so for tree you might write – root, branch, family, apple, trunk and tall. Then force some links between the word or its attributes and the problem in order to come up with fresh ideas. You will be surprised at how well this works – for individuals or in a group.

    9. Ponder the issue and then go for a walk around an art gallery or museum. The range of external stimuli will help you conceive plenty of new ideas.

    10. Draw a picture of the situation showing the people and the issues in simple cartoon style. Put it up on the wall and then imagine how the story could develop. Think of it as a cartoon strip. Many people’s brains work better in images than in words or numbers so this can lead to fantastic ideas.

    These methods work for individuals and for groups. Try them and see what suits you best. Above all keep reminding yourself – there are some great solutions for my problem – I haven’t found the right one yet but I will!

    More by this author

    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

    How to Win an Argument – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

    Trending in Productivity

    1 How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster 2 11 Ways to Be Productive And Happy At Once 3 What Is a Routine? 9 Ways Routines Make Your Life Easier 4 What Is a Habit? Understand It to Control It 100% 5 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on November 18, 2019

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.

    Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.

    How do we manage that?

    I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:

    The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

    How to Prioritize with the Scales Method

      One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

      At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

      After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

      • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
      • She could publish all her articles on time
      • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

      Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

      Advertising

      1. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Planning

      When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

      My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

      Use this time to:

      • Look at the big picture.
      • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
      • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

      2. Align Your Tasks with Your Goal

      This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

      It works like this:

      Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

      By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

        To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

        Low Cost + High Benefit

        Advertising

        Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

        Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

        High Cost + High Benefit

        Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

        Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

        Low Cost + Low Benefit

        This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

        These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

        High Cost + Low Benefit

        Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

        Advertising

        For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

        Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

          After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

            And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

            Bonus Tip: Tackling Tasks with Deadlines

            Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

            What to do in these cases?

            Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

            For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

            Advertising

            Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

              Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

              The Scales Method Is Different from Anything Else You’ve Tried

              By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

              And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

              Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

              Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

              More to Boost Productivity

              Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com

              Read Next