Innovate Yourself This Year

Reduce Routine-Inspired Stagnation


January 2024 Issue
By Sierra Pollard

Are you stuck in a routine without
savoring the flavor of what you do?

Unearth your true passions!

Exploring genuine passions and identifying happiness is crucial for a fulfilling life.
In today’s fast-paced world, routines rule our days, weaving themselves into the fabric of our work lives and self-care rituals. These predictable patterns, while providing structure, unwittingly clip the wings of our creativity, hindering our potential to innovate and flourish.

Why do we get entangled in these routines? Many of us tread paths misaligned with our dreams. Reasons vary from seeking comfort and familiarity to succumbing to societal expectations and the fear of change. Yet, breaking free from these routines is essential for personal growth, professional development, and overall happiness.

Silent killers of creativity, work routines tend to fence us into set tasks and roles. The daily grind can suppress innovative thinking as we become engrossed in meeting deadlines and fulfilling roles, neglecting exploration of new ideas that could revolutionize work processes.

Similarly, self-care routines, vital as they are for our well-being, can sometimes become repetitive and uninspiring. We often cling to habits, oblivious to potentially more effective ways to better suit our changing needs.

Ideation techniques are allies in combating routine-induced stagnation! These tools unlock our innovation prowess, flip our outlook, and tap into our creative reservoirs. Design thinking champions a human-centric approach, emphasizing empathy, ideation, prototyping, and testing to solve intricate problems. When applied to work and self-care, it encourages breaking away from conventional thinking, fostering the exploration of new possibilities.

Ideation techniques complement design thinking by fostering creativity. Techniques like brainstorming, mind mapping, and the Pollard Method urge individuals to think beyond norms, generating innovative ideas which challenge the status quo.

One effective exercise involves creating a happiness or passion journal to record activities that evoke joy. This technique uncovers underlying motivations, while visualizing through mind mapping or vision boards to clarify aspirations and priorities. Seeking feedback from trusted sources provides insights into overlooked strengths and sources of fulfillment.

Visualize jazzing up your work routine by first feeling the pain points. Starting with empathizing with the challenges of daily tasks is key. Understanding these challenges sparks ideation and brainstorming creative ideas. Adopting different workflows, integrating new technologies, or fostering diverse collaborations can stimulate your innovation. Experimentation through testing can help fine-tune approaches, boosting productivity and creativity in your work environments.

Turning to self-care, design thinking reshapes our routines by urging us to explore different avenues of well-being. By empathizing with our needs and understanding what truly rejuvenates us, we can experiment with various self-care practices. Dive into what sparks joy, experiment with diverse self-care practices like funky exercises, quirky hobbies, or adjusting daily schedule to include relaxation and reflection. Prototype these new strategies and voilà! Tailored self-care routines to match your evolving tastes and lifestyle.

Discovering true happiness demands patience and a sprinkle of courage. Once we gain clarity on our passions and interests, gradual shifts towards activities, careers, or lifestyles aligned with our authentic selves can lead to a more satisfying life.

As you answer the following questions,
visualize your answers by either writing them down or
creating a vision board for both your professional and personal life!

Strengths and Weaknesses:
Celebrate your strengths and embrace areas for growth.
How do you want to grow this year (knowledge, skills, etc.)?

Passions and Interests:
Explore your passions and interests.
What activities or subjects genuinely excite you and bring you peace?

Goals and Aspirations:
Define short-term and long-term goals.
What do you aspire to achieve in various aspects of life—
career, personal growth, relationships, etc.?

Health and Well-being:
Assess your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
How can you improve your health habits and manage stress?

Environment and Relationships:
Reflect on your surroundings and relationships.
How do they impact your growth?
Do you have a supportive environment and a nurturing positive communities?

Using ideation techniques to innovate yourself in 2024 will be an exhilarating dance of self-discovery and growth. Blend these elements into your concoction of values, aspirations, and growth spots—and welcome a vivid journey of self-improvement and innovation.

Let’s paint 2024 with your vibrant, bold strokes of innovation!

InnovateYourself0124 Sierra
Sierra Pollard is a Professor of Innovation and Design Thinking at the University of Florida, the CEO of Pollard Innovation Consulting, author of INNOVATE Series, (available on Amazon), and the founder of Women of the Lowcountry. Connect with a strong positive community at the 4th Annual Women’s Summit of the Lowcountry on March 1, 2024, at Belfair!

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.