When work saps your creativity, you might have to leave the office and concentrate on doing something else. Exercise may sharpen your thought processes. External training may spark an idea.
Punit Dhillon, CEO of OncoSec Medical Inc., a cancer therapeutics company in San Diego, faces the constant decisions, multiple deadlines and stress similar to others in the pharmaceutical industry.
This environment diminishes productivity, and while he speaks enthusiastically about work-life balance, his actions speak louder. He often engages in rigorous physical activity to prompt inspiration.
OncoSec’s Dhillon has been training avidly for triathlons for years, a pattern broken only by the birth of a child. He sandwiches most problems around exercise. Cycling 50 to 75 miles or running 12 to 13 miles often solves problems with immediate or long-term consequences.
In the scorching San Diego heat this July, Dhillon began his run on the secluded Los Peñasquitos Trail, minus his water bottle and, he later realized, sunscreen. He drew on tremendous mental discipline to run the last six miles back to his car.
“It turned my focus to OncoSec,” he says. “I realized there was no shortcut to developing a robust clinical program focused on skin cancers.” The company had received funding, but he’d adopted a course of budgetary restraint.
If he could survive the run with inadequate water, he’d go for broke with the three planned clinical trials. He’s now managing them. Each one seeks a different solution to advanced-stage skin cancer.
Dhillon has long noted that exercise impacts his life. “It helps sharpen strategy,” he remarks. “Sometimes I feel unproductive but come back refreshed, with a plan. I often go before meetings so I go in with a clear mind.”
Try changing settings and activity when you need a burst of creativity.
It is interesting that Punit Dhillon applies this hard working philosophy to the company and business. It proves his determination and motivation to succeeding and accomplishing a goal. Running 12 miles in the heat without water? I couldn't do 2!