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Making time to innovate in the new year

This time of year can be really overwhelming. The hustle and bustle isn’t just limited to our personal lives. The end of year can be crazy busy in our work lives, too. There are budgets to finalize, invoices to issue, bills to pay, issues to troubleshoot, all as people are preparing to take time off for the holidays.

I don’t have any scientific studies to back me up, but I’m guessing not a lot of innovation happens in the final weeks of Q4 every year. That’s got me thinking about next year, and how I can plan now to lead my team to be even more innovative in 2020. Here are my thoughts:

Make time for thinking. It’s easy to fall into the mistaken notion that lots of activity means lots of productivity. Take a look at your calendar and to do lists – most of the time is probably blocked off for meetings, most of the items to be checked are probably tactical in nature. Where and how we invest our time is a reflection of what we value. When I look at my calendar, I’m not convinced I see the value of thinking reflected. It takes time to truly think and explore ideas and solutions.

Make time for building relationships. It’s also easy to slip into transactional relationships with our business networks. But there’s value in making time to share coffee, lunch or drinks with partners and discuss higher-level topics. Getting to know the bigger vision and driving passions of those we serve is key to finding opportunities to support and further that vision. Those dreams won’t always fit in bullet points or a slide deck, or even one conversation.

Make time for wellness. It might be a workout, a walk, or meditation, but wellness breaks are a great way of getting out of a rut and hitting “refresh” on a mental block. I find myself thinking about challenges in a whole new way if I step away and meaningfully disconnect for a time.

What would you add to be more innovative in 2020?

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