To be a Soloist is to be aware of that which the masses are too distracted to see. The following are secrets not so much because the information is hidden, but because most people simply aren't paying attention to the obvious.
In I Hate People!, the book I wrote with Jonathan Littman, we maintain that people can be more productive by becoming a Soloist. The Soloist isn't a loner but instead is that adventuresome, creative spirit that tends to get crushed by too many meetings, interruptions and annoying co-workers. To help you to discover (or re-discover) the Soloist within you, yearning to escape, here are eight secrets that will help you to kick loose from the daily grind for a little while.
1. Let Your Calls Go To Voicemail
Unless you're expecting an important call, stop jumping to answer every time the phone rings.
2. Turn Off Your E-mail Arrival Alert
We've become worse than Pavlov's dog. Check your e-mail when you want to, not every time that chime goes off.
3. Get In Five Minutes Early
Before the madness starts, just a few leisurely minutes at your desk -- reading the news, sports or celebrity gossip -- can start the day off right.
4. Mini-Brainstorm With Your Ensemble
A Soloist's Ensemble is his trusted group. His gang. His posse. Just by firing off a single question to your Ensemble about something that's got you stumped can bring back a handful of useful answers in minutes.
5. Slow To A Stroll
Unless you're racing to make a flight at the airport, everything else can wait until you get there. Any time you catch yourself in that frantic speedwalking pace between meetings, tap the brakes a bit and slow it down.
6. Cut The Caff
Coffee is not a substitute for rest, so wean yourself off the "liquid nap". Switch to green tea, starting cutting your regular joe with decaf or go for a glass of water until your heartbeat starts to approach normal (under 90 beats a minute) for a change.
Practice turning your back to the door in your cube or office then shutting your eyes for a few minutes at a time. If anyone catches you, tell them you're meditating or imitating Winston Churchill (a famous napper.)
8. Take The Stairs
A little exercise never hurt anyone, which is the excuse you need to take the stairs instead of the elevator. What you're really getting are a few floors of peace and quiet at whatever pace you want to go.
Marc Hershon is the co-author of the new book I Hate People (Little, Brown and Company; June 2009) with Jonathan Littman. Marc is a branding expert who, through his Simmer Branding Studio, has created such memorable names as nüvi, Crackle.com and the title for Dr. Phil's book Love Smart.