I love this time of the year.  The financial year has wound up and you have a chance to spend time reflecting on the year that was.  It also allows you to recharge your batteries and refresh from the rigours of meeting the demands and routine of your work.

The other benefit of this time of the year is the chance to do the things you love.   One of my favourite things I do when winding down is playing golf.  What is remarkable about playing more golf is the ideas I have while doing it for our business, staff and clients!  I hear others remark that they often get great ideas running or in the shower or other activities that are not purely work related.  This is not something that happens by chance.

I have been intrigued by the fact that every time at the end of the financial year, I get a rush of ideas, thoughts and improvement opportunities for our business.  Why at this time of the year and why when I am doing something when I am very relaxed, not thinking of work?  I think I have now worked out why.

The brain gets the opportunity to unlock the creative side when relaxed.  My cup is too full during the financial year.  My diary is full through work to complete, clients to meet, obligations to fulfil and generally being busy but not productive.  This causes unnecessary stress, being busy not productive and a focus on delivering rather than reflecting.  Further, my energy levels seem to struggle along with finding time to innovate.

When the end of financial year comes, I go in to relaxation mode.  It gives us a great chance to reflect on the year and look at how we can improve in the new financial year.    Our batteries get recharged, our cup gets emptied which allows new ideas to flow!  For me, golf in particular seems to really get my creative and reflective juices going.   I have now got in the habit of taking a pen and paper with me on the course as the ideas are insightful and too good not to capture.

Capturing these insights has allowed me to then approach the new financial year with vigour, insights and actions that I would not have been able to develop without this down time.   It has now got me thinking about how I incorporate more down time in to my weekly routines during the year to keep the cup empty enough to be open to these moments of creative thinking and innovation!

When reflecting on your financial year, ask yourself some key questions to analyse the fullness of your cup and how you could empty it to have more flow of ideas including:

  • Where do you get your best ideas?
  • What state of mind are you in and what environments are these ideas coming from?
  • How do you capture these and act upon them?
  • How often are you doing these activities on a regular basis?
  • How could you do these more often during the year to turbo charge your business with actions from these ideas?

Human beings need to be in environments of trust and in a relaxed state to truly be creative and productive.   Give yourself permission to empty your cup and watch the rewards and ideas follow.  Further, the next time a staff member asks for some time off to hit a golf ball or something else they enjoy, encourage it with the proviso they take a pen and paper and reflect on how they could improve your business.    The ideas they may bring back will more than pay back your investment in their “downtime”.