Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

How do you spend the first week of the New Year?

For many, it is back to the grind stone, picking up where you left off in 2017. The new year becomes an extrapolation of the past year.

My intention is to use the new year as a chance to innovate and create.

Therefore, I have a long standing tradition for the first week of the year: an innovation work retreat.

Every year I head to a resort. Given I own a timeshare, I go there for the week and I get a one bedroom suite with a kitchen so that I can stay in the room all day.

The first day is preparation day. I start by going to the supermarket and buying healthy food for the refrigerator. I also organize my workspace so that I can be as productive as possible when I get started the next day. Then I typically plan out the activities for the week.

After the first day, my routine is pretty much the same…

I wake up at 7am and head to the hot tub. Right now it is 40 degrees in the morning here in Orlando, so the 10-minute walk to the pool area certainly wakes me up. I then spend about 30 – 45 minutes in the hot tub meditating. I reflect on the past year and contemplate the new year. Most of my insights for the year show up during this morning ritual.

Around 8am I get back to the room and make myself a high-protein breakfast. A double espresso also helps get me ready for the day.

Then around 9am I am ready to rock and roll. I plan and execute. I turn off the phone and email so I can stay focused until about 7 or 8PM (taking mini-breaks every 30-minutes). I then step away from the work and reflect on what I accomplished and what I want to do the next day. I cook dinner and then relax for a little bit. I don’t work too late in the day as I find it stimulates my brain and negatively impacts my sleep.

Around 10pm, I hop in the Jacuzzi in the room and clear my mind. I meditate again on the day’s activities and my aspirations for the year.

This gets repeated for 7 days.

When the week is over, I am energized and armed with my themes for the year. But more importantly, I accomplish a lot. This is not just a thinking and planning week. It is a doing week. One year I wrote the first draft of a book in seven days. Other years I created and launched new products in one week. After this year’s retreat week, I will be offering a new service that has the potential to change my business model.

For me, this week is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It sets the trajectory for the new year.

How do you spend your first week of the year?

P.S. I you want to learn more about my thoughts on New Year’s Themes, you can read may Wall Street Journal article here.

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