You might need to get out of the office to reengage.
Summer is here and although you may want to go on vacation this instant, you might not be able to just yet. Work is slow, you're feeling burnt out, and bored by doing the same things day in day out. Here is a simple way to find mental rejuvenation that will require one day of your time but will offer long-lasting benefits.
All you need to do is pick a topic you're interested in, and curate a day exploring that topic. Outside the office--I call this "knowledge tourism."
My most recent day as a knowledge tourist was inspired by our client the Kale Group, and I focused on the topic of the future of retail buildings. But this is the kind of thing you can also do without a client. In fact, I recommend it.
Here is how--
Have a goal
Make it your mission to be a knowledge tourist for a day. Get out of the office to come back with new knowledge, connections and insights to inspire your projects. Imagine you're a bee collecting pollen to make honey.
Block a whole day on your calendar. Pick your area of research--anything that interests you will work. Now you will plan a day around your research topic (just like you would plan a day if you were visiting Paris or Chicago).
Start with experts--people you know or people you know of. Connect via LinkedIn or Twitter with a brief description of your research. You will be surprised how many will be open to giving you an hour of their time. Go with 3 experts for one day. Once you have them scheduled, use the experts as your anchors and plan everything else around what they suggest.
I reached out to Guillaume Bazouin, the Director of Product and Innovation at architecture firm Bone Structure (he accepted on LinkedIn) and Tish Shute , who works at Huawei Technologies, to talk about VR, AR and implications of humans are merging with their tools (old friend, new conversation).
Check ongoing exhibits at museums, galleries, retail stores that relate to your topic. Plan 1-2 exhibits around your expert interviews. Be mindful of distances.
I stopped by a Sephora store to try their new VR make-up service (proud to say I stuck to research and didn't shop!) and the Target Open House to look at their new startup apps (very cool storytelling).
Plan a breakfast to review your plan for the day, your interview questions and to get your day started. Lunch is the perfect way to refuel and review your insights from the morning. Dinner caps your day and finalize your insights. If you're feeling adventurous, choose a meal spot that reinforces your research topic
I visited Eatsa, a cutting edge automaton diner. Good food, quick service, no bathrooms (because bots don't need them but we do!)
It will take you 2 hours (20min/day X 6) to curate this day. And you don't have to do it alone, you can take 1-4 people with you. You can also play with mixing meals and experts.
- You can write up 3 interviews with your experts for your blog (or for your team).
- Use what you learned to do a further deep dive on things you heard.
- Present an insights summary to your team and open it to conversation: what does this mean for us?
- How will you use this new wealth of information in your daily work? Make a plan.
- Stay in touch with your experts and continue to build your network.
- Share insights via Twitter, LinkedIn.
Now that you know my little secret for having fun and working, block a day on your calendar and start curating!
Design the life and work you love!