‘Thinking outside the box’ may be a cliché, but too often women turn any issue over and over in their minds without finding an innovative solution, because they tend to do all problem-solving in the same way. To get out of that cycle, women have to be more creative and see problems from different angles.
Here are a few ways that women can find unexpected answers for their problems.
Pretend the problem is not that important to you.
Mentally distancing yourself from the issue by imagining you are solving it for someone else or that the deadline is further away than it actually is, helps in solving the problem.
This helps you take in the bigger picture and opens your mind to approaches you might have missed if you were thinking too narrowly. Instead of getting caught up in blowing the deadline, you can see the issue as a whole and think about it reasonably or calmly.
Draw a picture of the dilemma.
Sketch out timelines, charts, or pictures to help you see solutions. If you want to improve your commute, you could draw out the different routes to find which is most scenic, the shortest. Or, if you need to cut your budget, sketching an organizational chart showing each job and its function can help you see redundancies or positions that could be eliminated or merged to save money.
Women often make assumptions without realizing it. Drawing a picture or diagram helps them address those hidden assumptions. When you are only thinking through a problem, it is easier to gloss over the details that jump out at you when you actually illustrate them.
Take a break from brainstorming.
Instead of sitting in front of the monitor the entire day, getting up and going for a run or a walk is going to do more good for you as it helps to calm our mind down.
Insights often come when people are taking a break from actively thinking about a problem, creativity researchers believe. It allows your mind to work in the background, piecing together fragments of information about the problem that were already floating around.