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64 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2019 Think Outside of the Box I realize that I started this column whining about anecdotes, and now I'm throwing another one at you. Sorry about that, but let's take a look at it anyway. Many years ago, I managed both a design group and the PCB design tools that the company used. Because of this, I often had people in my office that were panicky, frustrated, and just plain mad about the problems they were having with the tools. I did my best to try to help them or at least talk them off the ledge of their angst, but it didn't always work the way that I hoped. Some of these people would get really angry over the difficulties they faced. Then, I had an idea. I brought in a recliner and set it up in my office. The test of my idea came sooner than I expected when almost immediately an engineer came into my office extremely upset because of some failure with the design tools. He was red-faced and spitting nails, so I invited him to sit down in the recliner and relax, which he did. Shortly after that, his anger melted away, and we were able to work through his problem together for a quick and easy resolution. I'm not sure that my upper management ever really bought into the idea of "the consulting chair," but from my perspective, it really helped smooth over some of the problems that I had to deal with. This out-of-the-box solution allowed me to calm people down so that I could more quickly get to the heart of the matter and find a way to help them. What kind of creative alter- natives and solutions can you think of to help you through some of the problems that you face? Take a Break Now and Then You would think that I would have a grasp on the importance of this point more than anyone. After all, I've written about it before, and I've been dealing with it all my life. However, I still get snagged by it just as much as anyone else. Last night, I was writing a piece on a topic that required a lot of research. I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere with it, so I kept working harder and harder and harder to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Finally, my dear wife dragged me by the scruff of the neck out of my office to eat dinner. After a while, my dark and stormy countenance began to wear off as my mind was refreshed and I entered into normal human-like conversation with those around me at the dinner table. Afterward, I returned to the office, and all of those talking points that didn't make any sense 45 minutes earlier were now coalescing into something that I could write about. I just needed a break. One of the best ways that you can ensure that you are doing the job right is to stop doing the job now and then. Take a break, refresh your mind, and you will be stronger than before and have more creative energy to invest in getting the job done right.

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