I’ve been at a conference all week. I appreciate how just being away from a normal routine and in a different environment can spark possibilities and new ideas. There is a lot of sitting and listening time in conferences. Often, the speaker is thoughtful, effective, or even, ideally, provocative enough to challenge assumptions, rock the status quo, and make you rethink your work. It’s great to walk out of a presentation with new possibilities and a surge in energy that a dynamic speaker can provide. (If you’re going to speak to an audience, why not be awesome?)

Sometimes the speaker doesn’t connect, or maybe I walked in with a misperception about the published topic. Even then, just sitting still for forty-five minutes can lead to contemplation of new ideas. A quiet idea, maybe even poorly communicated, can take root just because I was forced to focus as I’m away from the day-in, day-out distractions of my typical routines. My mind often has been sent on productive tangents in the midst of an otherwise forgettable conference session.

Maybe we should try creating that conference mindset even in our normal day-to-day routines. Regularly disconnect from your place of distraction and put yourself in a place where you’re trapped for forty-five minutes or so with nowhere to escape. Find a remote place to do some work – a coffee shop or empty conference room or a lunch spot – where there’s more friction required to distract yourself.

Create a conference mindset regularly and see if new possibilities are awakened more regularly as well.