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BoredOn Sunday, a Facebook friend sent me a message saying he was bored. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of things and couldn’t break away to do some creative thinking and message suggestions to him.

But his message did get me thinking: What do you do with a bored adult to amuse them, especially if the bored adult is you?

Maybe with a kid you’d give them Cheerios or tell them to get outside and do something. Or maybe you’d suggest they get some paper and draw something. And maybe those same ideas would work for an adult.

Creative Thinking and 34 Ideas for a Bored Adult

But just in case this ever happens again . . . to someone else or to me . . . here are 34 ideas for things bored adults can do when they are unable to come up with ideas to beat boredom. By the way, this creative thinking post was written in the middle of the night when I woke up with a sore throat and couldn’t go right back to sleep, but figured I could do some creative thinking to put me back to sleep.

So if you’re a bored adult, how about trying any of these to beat boredom?

  1. Walking around the neighborhood
  2. Watching a completely different TV show / network than you ever watch
  3. Doing something that will make you laugh
  4. Taking a nap
  5. Cooking something . . . even if you can’t cook very well
  6. Going to a bookstore or the magazine rack at a store and start perusing new publications
  7. Having a meal – not a bunch of snacks – but a real, hot meal
  8. Going to church
  9. Talking with someone in person
  10. Chatting with someone online
  11. Helping someone who could use your assistance
  12. Doodling whatever comes to mind
  13. Being completely silent
  14. Making a list about some topic and come up with at least 25 items for your list
  15. Working a crossword puzzle
  16. Doing a task you find completely mindless and let your mind wander as you do it
  17. Going and getting sweaty . . . your choice of how you do it
  18. Playing with a dog (or a cat if you’re a cat person)
  19. Visiting someplace completely new where you’ll see other people – a museum, a park, a store, a restaurant, an amusement park, etc.
  20. Writing a list of all your blessings (and yes, you have to come up with 25 of them)
  21. Asking someone else what they do to get past boredom
  22. Having sex
  23. Calling a friend you haven’t talked to in ages
  24. Writing a story about a fond memory in your life
  25. Listening to exciting or stimulating music
  26. Relaxing by sitting still and emptying your mind of worries, concerns, and expectations
  27. Forcing yourself to do the thing that is MOST boring to you right now
  28. Getting away from the computer for a few hours or the rest of the day
  29. Using a creative tool that’s completely new or that at least you haven’t used for some time
  30. Writing, drawing, videoing, or somehow otherwise capturing information about how to do something you do better than anyone else
  31. Playing with kids and letting them set the rules for whatever you are playing
  32. Putting someone else in charge for a bit, i.e., letting them tell you what to do, deciding what you’ll have for lunch or dinner, suggesting ideas to get past your boredom
  33. Taking a long shower
  34. Making yourself write a blog post (or anything else that you’ll find a productive use of your bored time)

If I had been able to do the creative thinking then and respond directly to my friend (who used to be a DJ at a club back in my hometown) when he sent the Facebook message, I’d have put together a couple of these ideas and suggested he write a guest blog post for Brainzooming about what made great dance music when he was a DJ and if the criteria are any different now. That might have got him out of his boredom and saved me some blogging time, too. You gotta love the mutual benefits of that idea!  – Mike Brown

 

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Dirty-Ideas

Photo by: Flo79 | Source: photocase.com

During a presentation on Taking the NO Out of Innovation last week, we were talking about the importance of sharing “dirty ideas” (i.e., ideas that are not fully formed) with others early enough for them to constructively influence your creative thinking.

One participant, while agreeing with the concept of sharing dirty ideas, asked how to share dirty ideas with a client (either external or internal) or other stakeholder who is expecting YOU to provide fully cleaned up creative thinking.

4 Ideas for Safely Sharing Your Dirty Ideas and Thinking

Even if the overall result would benefit from a client weighing in on dirty ideas before they have been all cleaned up, certain clients are going to resist anything that seems as if they are “giving” you the answer. If that is an issue you face, here are four strategies for trying to still get the input you need:

1. Discuss hypothetical situations

Clearly state up front that you want to discuss some “hypothetical” ideas you are exploring. Labeling the dirty ideas as hypothetical can create some safe space to open up a productive conversation.

2. Share dirty ideas in small chunks

Rather than devoting an entire meeting or extended time to get reactions to your dirty thinking, share your dirty thinking in small pieces. Leave ten minutes at the end of a one hour meeting that has been focused on concrete progress to cover more exploratory creative thinking.

3. Shift your dirty ideas to another industry

Try placing your creative thinking in the context of another industry or market situation. By moving the situation so it does not seem as personal (either individually or organizationally), you will likely stand a better chance to getting beneficial input from your client.

4. Let your client feel like they are dirtying up your ideas

If you have a client who is particularly critical, simply give them a few details of the creative thinking you have been doing. This may prompt them to take the first stab at messing around with your creative ideas. Once that happens, you can follow suit and explore all the angles you need to get their feedback.

How do you get the best input on your creative thinking?

Are you hesitant to share your dirty ideas and thinking with others, especially if there is some risk to doing so? If you have successfully shared preliminary work in these types of situations what has worked for you? And are you up for sharing more dirty ideas to strengthen the ultimate results from your creative thinking? – Mike Brown

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Taking the No Out of Innovation eBook

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational creative boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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1

no-outlet

Strategic Catharsis and Daily Life

How many miracles are placed in front of you that look just like ordinary, everyday events? Not every miracle comes with bold signs to let you know what’s happening…Just like teenagers, presentations go through that awkward phase where they grow too fast & are all gangly. That’s when you hope they reach presentation adulthood very soon…My wife was watching Turner Classic Movies and the theme must have been “All Doris, All Day” because it was one Doris Day movie after another…When you see a surprising headline that includes a supposed quote, be sure to check out what words (and perhaps major ideas) have been excluded from the quote to create the headline.

It’s impossible to hear someone else talking to you if you keep talking and don’t listen. Yet how many people just keep talking AT God without ever listening and wonder why their prayers are never answered…The best friends are the ones who never have to be told when something is wrong. Hang on to them for dear life…Check for this disconnect in your life: How many things you SAY are important do you do only occasionally compared to how many things you say AREN’T important to you are you doing every time you can.

Doing Things to Help Others

One advantage of doling out a bunch of advice to people is having one of those people play your own advice back to you when you really need it…The longest time in the world is the time between when you’re asked to take a step in faith and when the next step actually appears…I heard an interesting “rule” on the radio from a headhunter: every day past 10 days that you don’t get an answer reduces the chance of getting an affirmative answer by 10%…Trust is easy when everything is easy. Trust is always harder when everything seems hard.

It’s damn tough to try and get someone else’s act together. Yet so often, having your own act together isn’t sufficient…The best sports coaches are typically not the most talented players. Maybe mediocre players have to become genuine students of the game to simply get to average…Never underestimate the impact of seldom letting anyone hear a discouraging word from you…If you hit a big goal, immediately set a new big goal – don’t delay…Forget having everything in life in balance. Give more of yourself to what’s important to you while realizing more than a few other things may be completely out of whack.

“Never quit asking.” Good advice that’s easy to forget and (for me) tough to do…Sometimes when someone is expressing their hurt and frustration on social media it’s a bluff. Sometimes it’s temporary and soon forgotten. Sometimes it’s sincere and scary. Unfortunately, it may be impossible to tell which it really is…The best apps don’t simply do things better. They teach, prod, or goad you into learning and doing better things for yourself…I’m a sucker for loud, forceful, in your face speakers who actually know something about their topics. I want to be like them when I grow up.

Doing Things to Be Ready

The one time I go to the grocery store without my phone, I see a bearded guy in an olive green pleated skirt. Serves me right…Evil likes to show up as benign violence and pleas for openness because people are more likely to invite it in for a cup of coffee…Amazing how genius ideas can take 4 years to realize. But then they are so great. Of course there is that 4 years of missed opportunity…Take this from a guy who plans for a living: Do a few positive things rather than PLANNING for doing a bunch of incredible things that never happen. – Mike Brown

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Taking the No Out of Innovation eBook

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic ideas! For an organizational creative boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Okay, I’ll admit the only way to take a true blog vacation is to simply stop publishing for a period of time and focus on something other than your organizational or personal blog.

Another blog vacation option people suggest frequently – at least to me – is rerunning blog content that’s previously appeared. For whatever reason, republishing an evergreen blog post  seems like junking up your own part of the web with duplicate content. It’s bad enough when someone else grabs your content and re-publishes it without doing it to yourself in order to take a break.

What-BlogWhat to Blog About – 8 Ways to Take a Blog Vacation

As part of my own ongoing exploration of how to devise a blog vacation to work on other projects, here are eight ideas for various ways to arrange a blog vacation:

1. Cut back one blog post weekly for a specific period of time.

This is kind of the “Fridays off during the summer” strategy applied to blogging.

2. Create a compilation post with evergreen content on a specific theme.

Depending on how well your content is categorized and how deep it is, this can take longer than expected.

3. Update an evergreen blog post with new information.

This variation on rerunning blog content can create two pieces of fresh content with lesser effort if you run a new post calling attention to the update.

4. Write extremely short posts or publish only photos during your vacation.

By reducing your standard blog post length to perhaps 10% of its normal number of words you can create more content in less time. This works well if your strategy is to stockpile content ahead of time.

5. Feature only guest blog posts during your vacation.

As with other strategies, this can one can take a deceptively long time to solicit, edit, and publish the guest blog posts.

6. Put a starting topic in place and let your readers build on and refresh it.

I participated in an experiment such as this on someone else’s blog. They left an “on vacation” post and pre-invited regular readers and fans to build on the topic or take it in new directions through comments.

7. Adapt evergreen content from multiple posts on your blog into a single post.

This strategy has been working for creating content to support a weekly newsletter I write. It’s pretty efficient to compile content on a specific theme as a starter and then rewrite it to make new and updated points.

8. Adapt content from varied posts into questions readers effectively use.

This strategy adds new value to evergreen content. Taking sentences and paragraphs and turning them into questions and diagnostics provides new usability to content.

Your thoughts on taking a blog vacation and figuring out what to blog about to save time?

What other ideas have you tried or do you have for creating the space for a blogging vacation? – Mike Brown

 

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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WeedsPreparing a creative and strategic thinking workshop for a client this week, one of the attendees mentioned in the pre-session survey a desire to identify ways to stay out of the weeds on project teams.

Great question and a strategic thinking topic we haven’t necessarily covered from that angle. While we talk frequently about the importance of focusing on what matters for an organization and staying productive, we haven’t necessarily addressed specific ways project teams can stay out of the weeds.

12 Ways Project Teams Can Stay out of the Weeds

Here are twelve ways to monitor whether a group is addressing strategic topics and ways a project team can stay out of the weeds if that is where it is stuck:

  • Involve a senior executive on the project team who has a short attention span for detail.
  • Prepare a meeting agenda that addresses big topics, but plans for a brief time near the meeting’s conclusion to revisit overly-detailed topics emerging during the project team meeting.
  • Maintain a running list of decisions and assumptions your project team has made and unless there is a clear and compelling strategic reason, make it difficult for the group to revisit and rework them.
  • Set a time limit for how much time you’ll spend researching, discussing, or deciding on a topic.
  • Invite fewer people to meetings where you’re discussing detailed topics.
  • Use an impartial facilitator to run the project team meeting and keep it moving toward the meeting objective.
  • Have someone with no experience participate in your discussion and whenever you get into topics that person doesn’t understand, pull the conversation back up to a meaningful level.
  • Ask whether the topic you’re discussing will have a material impact on the organization.
  • Continually ask how overly-detailed conversations are going to lead to discernible impact for customers or other important audience members.
  • Call time out on any topic you’re discussing that promises incremental impact but will be complex to implement.
  • Assign the people who want to get bogged down on a topic to do individual work to investigate or explore the issues and report back to the team.
  • Be willing to wrap up (or leave) early if there’s no forward progress toward the team’s objective and rethink your approach.

How do you keep a project team focused on strategic thinking and out of the weeds?

Do you have a tendency to get into the weeds when you really should be staying strategic? If not you, but others around you have a tendency to get into the weeds, how do you keep it from happening? – Mike Brown

 

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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This video would typically be a Friday Brainzooming post, but it seemed Monday was ripe for a little more fun this week! Plus it’s been too long since we did a “Be Creative Like a Kid” post, and it just couldn’t wait another day.

Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke, Jimmy Fallon and Grade School Instruments

My wife introduced me to Robin Thicke’s absolutely infectious song, “Blurred Lines” some time back, and we saw him perform a live version on the Graham Norton show the very night he performed this version with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots.

Jimmy Fallon has done a number of comparable versions of popular songs where he and The Roots provide backup for ultra-popular songs on instruments from a grade school music classroom. Similar to the 1980s group Pianosaurus, using kids’ musical instruments immediately adds another layer of fun to a song, as it does here with Blurred Lines. And given the unrated version of the Blurred Lines video, this rendition makes it a little more family friendly, although you may still have to watch the lyrics.

Be Creative Like a Kid Today

There’s always potential to be creative like a kid when you change a creative work through:

  • Creating it with new tools
  • Altering who performs the creative work
  • Injecting humor and a sense of experimentation

And based on the number of times I’ve watched this Blurred Lines video – to contribute to the millions of viewings in its few days of release – the be musical and creative like a kid formula is working incredibly well here with this creative work.

Enjoy the video and take a fun creative break to start or end your day . . . or even to provide a much-needed break in the midst of your very adult work world. Heck, maybe today is the day to take some crayons to a meeting and draw out some new, big possibilities! – Mike Brown

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact TheBrainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us atinfo@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Biz-MeetingI’ve been behind both some incredibly productive business meetings and some horrendous business meeting failures that went way far south for various reasons. While it’s impossible to guarantee having productive business meetings, these sixteen questions meeting leaders to ask WILL help minimize chances for meeting disasters:

16 Questions to Ask for Leading Productive Business Meetings

  1. What is the business meeting objective – organizationally and individually?
  2. How could holding pre-meetings with key participants help better plan the meeting topics and flow?
  3. What are the best ways to uncover ahead of time the challenging and controversial topics that may come up “by surprise” in the business meeting?
  4. How soon do I need to make an agenda available with topics, time ranges for each discussion, and expected take-aways for the meeting?
  5. If this is a regularly scheduled meeting, what are the group’s previously-made decisions that need to be posted so we don’t go back and waste time revisiting them?
  6. How early should I have to arrive at the meeting location to make sure everything is ready?
  7. Is the seating arrangement conducive for the meeting objective (including making sure the participants intermingle)?
  8. Would there be value in identifying what customer benefits the meeting is expected to produce?
  9. What will be the cost of the meeting based on each person’s approximate hourly rate times the meeting length?
  10. Does the meeting cost make sense relative to the financial impact of the issues and decisions under consideration (i.e., don’t have a $5,000 meeting for a $500 issue)?
  11. What’s the plan for ensuring that all participants are contributing toward accomplishing the meeting objective?
  12. Who will facilitate the meeting if I’m not doing it?
  13. Who will be the note taker within the meeting?
  14. Will the meeting note taker be the same person who compiles the meeting notes?
  15. What’s the plan if we fall behind the agenda in achieving the meeting objective?
  16. What are the best options to summarize the meeting notes based on meeting themes, conclusions, recommendations, and/or next steps?

What else should meeting leaders account for in their meetings?

These are all questions we try to answer and account for in business meetings. What else should meeting leaders be paying attention to and implementing for productive business meetings?

– Mike Brown

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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