THE BLOG
10/02/2013 12:35 pm ET Updated Dec 02, 2013

How Do You Eat an Oreo? Being You-nique in the Workplace

By Jim Finkelstein and Melissa Mead

Everyone seems to have their own way of eating their Oreos. We're proud of, and certainly content with our way of consuming the famous cream-filled cookie. So here's a question for you: Why does work have to be any different? Why can't we all be each our own individual and think creatively and intuitively on a daily basis? The stuff in the workplace may not be as delicious as a cookie, but it doesn't mean we can't (or shouldn't) listen to our gut.

There's got to be a way to channel that same satisfying, gut-based strategy we use to eat an Oreo as when we step into the workplace and are faced with challenges. Some may call it brute intuition. Others will call it commonsense. But whatever you call it, use it! It is uniquely yours. More often than not, our gut feeling is our best bet.

Here are five examples of ways we are thinking "you-niquely." Hopefully it will stimulate readers to be the creative, inspirational people in the workplace that you are.

1. Quality Time Beginning vs. Quality Time Remaining

If managing time were hereditary, we'd be about twenty minutes early to work every single day. Unfortunately, time management isn't carried in on the backs of chromosomes. So we end up growing up in a society where we spend far too much time complaining about all that we have to do, and how little time we have to do it. Rather than placing ample amounts of stress on the dwindling time we have left, why not invest more attention on what we call "Q.T.B." or Quality Time Beginning.

"Time is the most valuable thing you have. You can't get it back. You can't make more of it." - Anonymous

Perhaps we don't always aim towards making the most of our time. But it's never too late to change that. Think about all of the time you spend getting ready to greet the day, getting ready for work, then actually working. Think about all of the time you spend on the road, in the air, on the phone, plugged into the wall. Maybe it's just a matter of asking yourself how effectively or wisely you've been maximizing our time doing all of these things that seem so trivial.

2. We live in the Age of 'Simple' not the Age of Complexity

Let's be real. We (as in, you and I) put the "complex" in complexity. Life is pretty simple if you allow it to be. Stressing the small things, and letting our ever-so-capable minds blow things out of proportion, only enhances the self-created anxieties that life's complexity supposedly brings us.

Our friend and simplicity guru, Ayelet Baron (www.ayeletbaron.com) has given us a solid grasp on the idea that people just need to be able to move forward and get "unstuck." She invites us to stop making things too complicated. Yes, apparently we have that power folks! Baron also believes in constantly asking of ourselves, "Will this simplify my life?" . . . and since we're riding the Q.T.B. express, it's certainly a question well worth asking!

The truth is, we are in control of the 'Simple' in our lives. Only we can ultimately change how we think, and what we believe to be the most effective way to take on each day.

3. What box? Be box-less

For a select few, our natural tendency is to take charge and lead the horde. But the majority of our natural tendencies as humans is to flock like sheep instead of being, oh, shall I say, individuals. Is following easier than leading? Or are we simply born to be either a leader or a follower? What if the answer is neither? What if no one believed in "best practices?" What would happen if we set our own standards for ourselves? Why do we often remind ourselves to 'think outside of the box'? Is there really a box?

Similar to simplifying our lives, the box only exists if you allow it to. It would be difficult for something to restrict our minds or intuition if it didn't exist, now wouldn't it? So there you have it. Don't have a box. Be brave. Be bold. Be box-less.


4. The Internet is not your enemy

What used to be considered a tool that only scientists and high intellectuals would only be able to use, is now accessible to nearly everyone . . . even to those who probably shouldn't.

We should know this by now. Everything good is usually accompanied by constant speculation. While it may or may not appear to be, the Internet is your friend. It's a double-edged sword. Yes, it's easy to blame it for being a so-called 'distraction,' but then again, it's hard to blame something that's there to freely serve you at all hours of the day.

So why don't we trust the Internet? Is it because anyone who is anyone can post anything to his heart's content for the world to see? Is it because not every little thing is required to be deemed true or false? Trusting the Internet has quite a bit to do with how you're plugged in, metaphorically speaking of course.

How we utilize the Internet itself, and what purpose we actually give it, is what can turn our distrust of the Internet into a lifelong friendship. Take introverts and extroverts for example. While the debate over whether introverts are in fact introverts is a completely different argument altogether, with the help of social media forums, people who consider themselves to be more introverted are able to communicate their thoughts better than ever before. Family members have been reunited and long-lost friends caught up with moments from the past... that enable them to move forward.

Perhaps all some people need is a platform to stand on, or a friend to hold their hand.

5. A new way to think simply about your abilities: the CQ - Commonsense Quotient

As we assess our native abilities, we seek to unlock the mysteries that lie within each of us and measure it through various means - IQ, personality traits, EI (Emotional Intelligence). Candidly with a large body of science and psychologists opining and disagreeing on the best way to assess intelligence, we are seeking to understand in a much simpler way. Call it the commonsense quotient (CQ).

We want to measure your innate, intuitive abilities to think, act and live your life. Merriam Webster's online dictionary defines commonsense as "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation of facts." The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as "the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way."

So let's look at life in the workplace differently - with QTB, simplicity, outside the non-existent box, with the Internet as your friend and with high CQ. Let your "you-niqueness" come out! And, enjoy that Oreo the way you do!

Jim Finkelstein is the President and CEO of FutureSense, Inc. Jim is a student of people and is constantly searching for ways to help understand their uniqueness. He has dedicated his career to helping organizations improve their effectiveness through strategy and execution of simple and proven solutions. He believes in getting stuff done.www.futuresense.com. Jim is the author of Fuse: Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace (Greenleaf Book Group, 2011). He is an Adjunct Faculty member at Sonoma State University in their Executive MBA program You can follow him on Twitter @futuresense.

Melissa Mead is a Freelance Writer working on the Team FutureSense bench. She also keeps busy as a barista at Starbucks, where she's worked for the past three years. Melissa is an avid (some say obsessive) runner and blogger, and enjoys the great outdoors--especially the beach. She is a 2013 Boston Marathon finisher, qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon and is often seen running at various times of the day in various climates . . . because no day is complete without a run. You can follow Melissa on Twitter @mlives2run.