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I took the week off; hardly opened the computer, but still addicted to Blackberry so was able to check messages and send some emails.

On Christmas day, I woke up in Santa Monica California; sunshine and 65 degrees, It was the first time, in many a year, that I woke up in a warm climate on Christmas It seemed strange to be jogging around palisades park, near the ocean, in shorts and t shirt.

This is usually the time of the year I get my winter gear out and jog through Central Park in the snow. That's when I feel all wintry. Hard to get Wintry in southern California.

Clearly, I was out of my comfort zone. And it wasn't a bad thing.

This change of venue did me good. I thought about new ways to use social networks to promote my clients business; books I want to read and new strategies I want to test and implement.

Want to get out of your comfort zone and get your creative juices going? Try some of these techniques:

Listen to a TV news station whose views are opposite your views. See what you can earn. At worst, you'll pick up some ammunition to use in cocktail party chatter.

Listen to your teenagers music or watch MTV, VH1 or Spike TV and get some new input about this key bowling segment (15 to 29 yr olds).

Visit different stores and test their customer service; what can you learn from them?

Read "Getting Things Done" by David Allen; a great book about managing your time and working efficiently

Sometimes, getting out of the comfort zone gets us thinking in new ways. Give it a try.

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