If an artist is only as good as his visual resources, then a problem-solver is only as good as his mental-resources. One way of developing mental resources is to try new things. Trying new things and breaking habits increases the variety of mental-resources through gaining new experiences. New experiences then should be compared with past experiences. I believe that this process stimulates the brain making us more innovative in our problem-solving activities.
A personal experience that I have had this last week has been trying out a new way of managing my time. In the past I have planned my day the night before. Now, I plan my day an hour or two at a time. I write down 3-5 tasks that I want to accomplish and how much time I will spend on each task. I end the list of tasks with "plan" to start the process again. Then I set the timer on my iphone and finish up the task when the timer is done. (In fact I just heard the timer go off for this post.)
I find that this new experiment is helpful. I feel more focused and productive. I also feel that my mind is more engaged as I work on tasks in shorter spurts and switch from activity to activity more often.
Try doing 3 things this week that are new to you. Share your experience.