A daily 208-second ritual can boost your creativity and help you make choices, an international career coach says

ylva anderson
Leadership and teamwork coach Ylva Anderson believes that the pyramid model needs to be replaced by a “circle of creativity.”

  • Ylva Anderson is a coach in teamwork and leadership.
  • She explained that today’s style of leadership is outdated.
  • She thinks everyone should be “switching off” every day for 208 seconds.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Team and leadership coach from May Strategies, Ylva Anderson thinks we should all be “shutting down for 208 seconds, every day.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little frustrated by today’s organizations and leadership,” she said in a presentation titled: “Leadership: Are you ready to take a decision in 208 seconds?”.

The coach is confident not only that this method could be greatly beneficial for creativity in the workplace, but that we also need to change the way today’s leadership works.

Anderson has worked and published at various Swedish media companies – in television, radio, and print – for years.

She’s also an expert in dynamic communication and is currently involved in leadership training at The School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Rwanda.

The way we lead needs to change

Anderson said that in her work she meets managers and teams from different countries and industries every single day.

The coach described the way they work as fast-paced, disorganized, and stressful.

According to her, managers are prisoners of the rat-race – they work under enormous pressure, they have no motivation, and they’re exhausted.

In her opinion, they’re also not particularly innovative when it comes to changes in leadership.

“We’re doing more or less the same things we were at the turn of the 20th century – we’re working as though we’re in the early industrial era,” said the coach.

ylva anderson
According to Anderson, we need to mentally “log out” for exactly 208 seconds, or three and a half minutes every day.

She also highlighted that we’re still working according to a pyramid structure, where those in command are at the top and those who are contracted in are at the bottom – but what can we do to alter this way of working?

According to Anderson, the answer is actually “the most powerful tool of all”.

“It can change the world, it can change ourselves, it can bring about unexpected opportunities,” she said. “It’s creativity – the ability to adapt, transform, search for new methods, to improvise, and to play.

She believes that, in management and leadership, the pyramid model needs to be scrapped and replaced by a “circle of creativity” consisting of four elements.

1. Joint problem-solving

Communication and feedback, where everyone talks and discusses, where everyone is open to others’ ideas without judgment and every reflection and conclusion is welcome.

2. Co-operation and co-creation isn’t enough

The expert also proposed a new way of making decisions, where responsibility and decisions are taken together.

3. Management through training

This isn’t just about bosses training their coworkers, according to Anderson; we should all be learning from one another.

“We should help elevate each other to the highest level,” she said.

4. “Switching off” during the day

“We’re not cut out for the speedy, messy, stressy lives we lead – our brains are constantly on the boil. In the circle of creativity, we need time for reflection and pause,” said Anderson.

According to Anderson, “turning yourself off” during the day is the key to creativity, her suggestion being to mentally “log out” for exactly 208 seconds, or around three and a half minutes.

“If you take out 208 seconds a day or around three and a half minutes for a break, for silence, and for focus, you’ll notice a big difference,” said Anderson. “Those three and a half minutes do offer real results.”

“The next time you are stressed before making a decision, stop putting pressure on yourself,” she continued. “Instead, take a step back and give yourself those 208 seconds. I’m positive you’ll notice the difference.”

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