Learn How to Be More Creative in Any Field and in Life

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Be More Creative|Learn How to Be More Creative in Any Field and in LifeJust as IQ is an indication of your share of intelligence and EQ connotes your share of empathy, it is also possible to have a share of creativity, or CQ. A creativity quotient is not fixed. It is dynamic and increases as you practice building it and exercising it. What’s more, CQ isn’t reserved for artists. Anyone in any field – farming, law, plumbing, architecture, perfumery, real estate, medicine, education, and technology, to name a few – can learn to be more creative and apply creativity to be more successful in their work.

Exactly how do you raise your creativity level – especially if you don’t think of yourself as particularly creative? Specifically, your share of creativity can increase as you expand your capacity for inquiry, become more willing to improvise, and hone your intuition. Moreover, creativity can be scaled: both individuals and organizations can have a creativity quotient.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself and pose to your team to build a culture of creativity and your own CQ.

1. Do you have a hobby outside of your daily job?

If you practice a craft or hobby diligently outside of your paid work, then you are regularly putting yourself into a beginners’ mindset. This is crucial because it primes you to get good at embracing being clumsy, learning from mistakes, and asking the naive questions. Inevitably, the beginners’ mindset that hobbies cultivate transfers into your work environment. You will get better at questioning the status quo, one of the first steps towards innovating.

2. Do you play regularly?

I mean really play, have fun, and do activities that bring you joy. Joy is distinct from happiness. While happiness is something we expect to sustain long term, joy is episodic and all about your perspective. A corollary to being more playful is developing a sense of humor. A sense of humor signals your capacity for abstract thinking – instead of only focusing on what is literally in front of you. Note that having a sense of humor will also be developed from question No. 1 above: having a hobby. How could you not chuckle at your clumsy attempts while tinkering away at a hobby?

3. Do you deliberately do things outside of your comfort zone?

At least twice a year, visit a place outside of your comfort zone or go to a conference that is totally outside of your sector, where you will be sure to learn something new. This helps you to practice lateral thinking. You can also practice getting outside of your comfort zone on a daily basis. For example, if you do not consider yourself an artistically visual type, begin to doodle. Set the timer for 5 minutes, and doodle away. It is one of the best ways to make the mind more limber.

4. Do you experiment with technology?

Sometimes we forget that at the end of the day, technology is a tool. It is there to help amplify what is uniquely human about us and free us up to do more creative work. In addition to the usual suspects of workshare platforms like Slack, Basecamp, and Zoom, also try experimenting with augmented reality tools, and visualization tools such as Canva, Mural or Ziteboard. Rather than fear artificial intelligence, welcome it. AI has the potential to up the ante on what makes us uniquely human.

5. Do you incentivize collaboration?

Even superheroes don’t go it alone, so why should you? It’s one thing to say you value collaboration, but until you incentivize it by linking collaboration to compensation or time, chances are your employees won’t put collaboration into practice. One of the best outcomes of collaboration is the necessary thought diversity that results. You quickly learn to invite in and lean on people from different departments and backgrounds. Remember: the more diverse the inputs, the more innovative the output.

If you answered YES to at least 3 of these questions, you’re doing a good job. Make it your goal over the next 12 months to be able to tick off YES to all 5 questions and share your techniques with others. Better yet, start with just one of these suggestions today!

As you move forward, keep in mind: increasing your creativity quotient is about building on what has come before you. And that requires, well, building. Building can be messy. While you may start with a plan, plans shift, agendas change, and assumptions are challenged. It requires taking leaps – from prioritizing deep specialization to valuing broad experience and from deferring only to what’s rational to embracing ambiguity.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Natalie Nixon, PhDNatalie Nixon, PhD is a creativity strategist, global keynote speaker, and the president of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC. She helps leaders apply creativity and foresight to achieve transformative business results and amplify value. Natalie is the author of The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation, and Intuition at Work (Berrett-Koehler; June 2020), a regular contributor to INC., and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Learn more at figure8thinking.com and follow her @natwnixon.

Having Financial Freedom And Being Realistic

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Financial Freedom|Having Financial Freedom And Being RealisticThis year has certainly not been one that has gone to plan for so many. You may have had good intentions and goals, especially when it came to your finances, but found yourself in a situation where you have struggled with less pay or no work at all. You are not alone. But as we come out of this difficult period it could be a good idea to make your finances a priority. It might mean selling and buying a new home, paying off debts, for example. It may even be to increase your savings or be a little smarter with your financial purchases. Whatever your goal may be, there can be actionable steps you can take now to help you achieve the goal. Here are some of the things to consider.

Take a look at your current situation

First of all, no matter what financial goal you will have in mind, you need to start looking at your current situation and address where you need to make some changes. Many people won’t scrutinize their bank statement, but by doing this now, you could highlight and be more aware of exactly how much you are spending each month. If you want to get serious an online financial planning tool can help you with all sorts of things to do with your finances. You may even identify rogue direct debit payments you thought had been canceling still leaving your bank account. It does happen. Take the time to note down all of your outgoings versus what you have coming in, and you will be truly aware of where you stand, ready to make some changes for the year ahead.

Monitor your credit report so that you can actively make changes

The next thing you might want to think about is your current financial history regarding credit and your current score. This will be especially important if you plan on any financial applications soon such as a mortgage. You may want to look into your report on credit reference agencies so that you have a true idea of what is going on behind the scenes. You may want to know what your score is now, and then look at ways you can improve it. This could be focusing on paying off debts or ensuring that all details on your credit file are correct. It saves a lot of messing around when the time comes to apply.

Start looking at ways to save

Saving may be a goal you have specifically, or it may form part of a bigger plan like eventually owning your home. So looking at ways to save could be a great starting point from now to help you build them up. It could be that you can save a set amount each month, which is great. Setting up a standing order into a separate account for this amount will help you build up that savings amount. However, you could look at other savings you can make every day and add to the pot as and when you can. This might be using cashback sites with everyday spending, or even thinking about things like saving on food shopping and sending the different you save over to your savings account. The more you find ways to save, the faster it will rise.

By setting yourself clear targets, and taking actionable steps now, you will be able to hit the ground running for the rest of this year.

How To Improve Your Business Productivity While Working From Home

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Business Productivity|How To Improve Your Business Productivity While Working From HomeWorking from home can be challenging for some because there are so many things that may need your attention. From your children to household chores, your productivity may be suffering. If you are looking for ways to improve your business productivity, here are some helpful tips that will help you get through the day getting everything done on your to-do list.

Be More Efficient

Think really hard about how your business is running. Are there any opportunities for some processes to be streamlined? For example, if you own a commercial dash cam company, installing fleet tracking dash cams can be beneficial to improving your delivery times as some of these come with GPS features. Maybe you are spending too much time answering emails in which case a simple day restructure will help you move more efficiently. Ultimately, it depends on what your business’ short-term and long-term tasks are.

Know When To Delegate

This is something a lot of great managers and executives understand. You cannot do everything yourself. There is not enough time in the day. Delegating allows you to focus on the most important tasks for your day while someone else can handle the less pressing, but just as important tasks. Delegating can feel uneasy because you are essentially giving someone else the responsibility of pulling through.

Doing this not only improves your productivity but it also benefits your employees by giving them a sense of achievement and direction in their careers.

Cut Out Distractions

Distractions are typically the main culprits when it comes to business productivity. Things like social media and texting can be major time wasters. You want to make sure that you and your employees are utilizing the work hours efficiently. While you do not want to implement a no-phone policy, you can instead opt for frequent breaks. Taking lots of breaks will reduce your chances of getting distracted.

Use The Right Tools

Thank goodness for technology and apps. There are tons of time and productivity tracking apps that you can use to help keep you productive. These apps help you stay accountable for your time for the day, making sure that you are getting most out of the workday. You can also use collaboration tools like Google Drive and Trello to keep track of your projects and those contributing to those projects. Google Drive streamlines the collaboration process, allowing you to share things in real-time as they are being updated.

Keep Your Employees Up-To-Date With Training

Set your employees up for success by offering training that allows them to develop their productivity skills. Sometimes the process of hiring someone new can be nerve-wracking because this is a time typically when things start falling through the cracks. The best way to avoid this is to make sure all your employees, new and old, are properly trained. Training greatly benefits not just the employer but also the employees as well as improving greater efficiency and productivity.

Achieving Balance: How Hormone Health Improves Personal Performance 

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Hormone Health|Achieving Balance: How Hormone Health Improves Personal PerformanceThe human body is made up of numerous hormones that all have essential functions for the body’s overall well-being. It all stems from one straightforward concept. The hormones of the body have quite an element of control in how the human body functions through the control that it has. These hormones act as messengers so that your performance daily is as it should be.

It’s precisely for this reason that today, various health remedies are in place to help address the need for better hormone health. As one strives to keep their entire body in check, their hormone health should also be cared for.

Here’s why:

1. It Controls Overall Organ Functions

By the nature of what hormones are, it has the task of controlling the overall organ functions. Hormones travel all over the body. When they reach and bind to receptors, they lock together. When this process is completed, the hormones transmit the specific messages that they’re responsible for. Henceforth its ability to control the various functions of organs.

This is important so that every day, the human being can perform even the basic tasks that you’re supposed to achieve. With this, healthy hormones can accomplish the following:

  • The growth and development of the body
  • The reproductive processes of the human body
  • The various sexual characteristics that distinguish male from female
  • The ability of the body to store and process energy

Note that while hormones are widespread in the body, these don’t affect the human body in entirety. Every type of hormone has its respective function, depending on which organ or tissue it’s meant to send a message to. Because hormones perform this very important function for the human body, all the more that the clamor for balanced hormones now exists.

This is precisely the reason why it’s very important for individuals to check from time to time, their hormone levels, to ensure that all is well with them. Thankfully, products like HealthConfirm’s Hormone Vitality Complete have made it possible now to have hormone level measurements done at home, through their kits. This advantage gives you no reason not to be this prudent also about regularly checking your hormone levels.

2. It Helps Control How You Feel

Personal performance also includes one’s ability to process emotions or your ability to feel. If hormone health is poor, this also means that the level of hormones is disrupted. When this happens, you’ll also begin to notice changes in your mood. Imbalanced hormones lead to more severe mood swings. This can hinder even your behavior and your overall outlook for the day.

For example, even after a good night’s sleep, you notice that you’re still feeling weak and moody as you wake up. This may not be a problem of lack of rest anymore. It could also be a deeper problem, such as poor hormone health. With a better balance of your hormones, you end up happier.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Hormone Health|Achieving Balance: How Hormone Health Improves Personal Performance3. It Controls The Metabolism Of Your Body

No matter how much you exercise or control your diet, if your metabolism is poor, this could also affect your ability to maintain a healthy weight. One of the functions of healthy hormones is its ability to control your metabolism.

This function stems from the hormones of the thyroid, which were built precisely for that purpose. Along with metabolism, other functions of healthy thyroid hormones include:

  • Regulating weight
  • Managing hair growth
  • Determining energy levels
  • Controlling the inner temperature of the body

4. It Boosts Brain Function

Good hormonal health is also necessary for the brain to function adequately. Remember that the brain doesn’t merely work on its own. It’s reliant on its connections and relationships with the other organs of the body. One of these are the hormones, or the critical messengers so that the brain can process various information, depending on the specific performance that it’s meant to do.

For instance, if your hormone health is poor, specific cognitive issues can arise. When this happens, your overall personal performance is also affected. You may not be able to do the tasks you were accustomed to, not just in your job, but even in other aspects of your life.

Examples of these adverse effects of how poor hormone health affects your brain would include:

  • Having only a short attention span
  • Quickly losing one train of thought
  • Experiencing frequent short and long-term memory gaps
  • Changes in creative coordination ability

You need to think of your brain as an operating system of a computer. To fuel its functions, excellent hormone health is necessary. The healthier your hormones are, the better your overall performance is.

5. It Keeps Your Body Healthy

When your body isn’t healthy, then it’s expected that you wouldn’t be able to function to your full potential. If you notice that you’re also getting sick more frequently, this could mean that your hormones may also be of poor health.

A proper balance of your hormones is needed to keep the immune system healthy. That way, you can better function and perform, as your body’s innate ability to ward off bacteria and viruses is stronger.

Takeaway

It’s normal for the human body to experience instances when certain hormones are depleted or that their overall function is affected. While the effects may sometimes be minor, this isn’t to be taken lightly. After all, good hormone health is needed for the body’s performance to be excellent. The more that you’re able to understand about hormone health after reading through this, the more that you can step forward with ensuring that your body’s overall hormone health is excellent.

Is a Master’s Degree Worth the Effort?

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Master's Degree|Is a Master’s Degree Worth the Effort?Whether you have just graduated from uni or have had your degree for some time, you might be wondering, is a master’s degree worth the effort? Many of the results that you can get from some master’s courses, like additional job opportunities or better career prospects, can also be gained from alternative means like graduate schemes or industry qualifications. And at around ten thousand pounds for a year of study, getting a master’s degree doesn’t always come cheap either.

If you’ve been pondering going back to uni and getting a postgraduate qualification, it’s always worth taking the time to determine whether or not it will be worth the effort for you. The answer will depend on your personal situation and your career goals.

What Do You Want to Do?

First of all, consider what you want to do with your career. Will a master’s degree be essential? If you want to work in a field or a position where a master’s degree is required as a minimum, your choice has been made for you. However, bear in mind that the jobs where a master’s degree is the minimum requirement are few and far between, and most of the time there will be alternative pathways to getting there. Do as much research as you can on your chosen career path, to determine whether getting a master’s is right for you.

Studying for the Right Reasons

Even if alternative options are available, studying for a master’s degree can be fun and it will make a great addition to your CV. However, it’s important to make sure that you want to get a master’s degree for the right reasons. Don’t apply for a master’s simply because you miss uni life or aren’t sure what you want to do after graduating; there’s a risk that you’ll end up in more student debt and still not sure about your next steps at the end of it. If you’re unsure of what to do next, why not try a graduate scheme, go travelling, or work in various jobs for a year or two to help you get some more experiences that you can use to choose your pathway?

Masters Vs. Industry Qualifications

In some industries, there are other qualifications that you can do online or at local colleges that will help you get your foot into better career options. For example, if you studied psychology and want to become a counsellor, you might not need to get a master’s degree; there are industry-recognised qualifications that you can study for in less time that will enable you to start working in your chosen profession. And, they will often cost a lot less than getting a master’s degree. Weigh up the costs and benefits of each option available to you, and determine whether you actually need a master’s degree or if there’s a cheaper, faster way of getting to where you need to be.

Choosing the Right Degree

If you’ve decided that a master’s degree is the right way forward for you, it’s time to consider which degree course you are going to apply for. Again, this might be an easy decision based on your career, if a master’s in a certain subject is required for you to get there. But more often than not, you will have a range of options to choose from. Take a look at this guide at unicompare.com designed to help you choose the right master’s course for you. University Compare allows you to shortlist suitable master’s courses and compare them to each other in terms of course content, facilities, teaching styles, employment prospects and more to help you make the right decision for your career.

Choosing Your University

You don’t have to stay at the same university to study for your master’s, although this is a popular choice for many students, with many universities offering tuition discounts for students who decide to return. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t study at the same university if you enjoyed your time there as an undergraduate and they offer a suitable course and facilities for your needs.

However, you might decide to go elsewhere, which is when you will need to do a little more research. Perhaps you want to attend a higher ranking university than the one who studied at first, in order to improve your CV, or maybe you want to attend a university that is highly specialised in the master’s degree course that you have chosen, with state-of-the-art facilities to take advantage of.

Start your university search early and attend open days to get a feel for the campus, teaching staff and facilities before you make a final decision. And, apply to more than one university so that you have more options.

A master’s degree can be worth the effort if you’re doing it for the right reasons. It’s a great way to advance your career, boost your CV and get in front of more opportunities.