So, you’ve recognised that you’re a creative being, understood that it’s time to set your creative side free and identified ways to add creative activities to your routine. But how about making creativity a standard part of your day-to-day routine?
Truly creative people don’t designate specific times to be creative. Instead, they approach life as one big, long opportunity to create and to play. Being creative is more of a way of living than it is a hobby or a side project.
And it can be a lucrative one too. You don’t have to become the next Banksy to make money from your creativity. In fact, the chances are that your current job would benefit from an injection of creative thinking and self-expression. Big businesses across all sectors are crying out for creative thinkers and people who can look at things in interesting and unusual ways. Chief executives around the world are desperate to hire creative employees who can bring some fresh thinking into their workforce. In 2010, a global survey of 1,500 CEOs in the United States found that creativity was felt to be the most important marker of future leadership success.
Conversely, several recent studies have shown that modern workplaces can actually have a negative impact on our creativity. Open plan offices, group brainstorming sessions and long meetings are all thought to have a negative impact on the creative process and the ability to think outside of traditional models.
So, how do you embed creativity into your daily life and begin to start reaping the benefits (financial and person) of a more creative outlook?
Boost Creativity by Ditching the Devices
Switch off for a while. Social media and other distracting apps and screen activities can be one of the worst distractions from our ability to daydream, so switch off and spend some time without purpose. Notice the moments when you have an urge to reach for your phone and think about what was happening in that moment. Were you bored? Uncomfortable? In need of stimulation? What would happen if you didn’t grab a device and allowed yourself to feel that emotion?
Take ‘Think Breaks’ to Inspire Creativity
Bill Gates used to schedule week-long breaks twice a year in which he would go to a remote location and spend time thinking about the future of technology. Daydreaming is said to be one of the best facilitators of creative ideas and solutions. Your brain needs time to drift to allow it to process information and state connecting dots between different ideas. The think breaks don’t have to be long. The next time you take a journey somewhere, try to avoid listening to music, reading or using your phone. Allow your brain to wander and enjoy the peace.
Try New Things
Say yes to things that take you outside of your comfort zone. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. The list of new things you could try is endless: walk in a part of your neighbourhood you’ve never been to before, watch a new channel, try a new social app, have dinner with someone you haven’t seen for a while, spend time in a café or restaurant that is frequented by people who don’t look like you, look out for new activities you’ve never tried before, go on holiday, try new foods, go dancing, ask a friend to pick out a new outfit for you and go out wearing it…Once you start looking for new ways to approach life, you’ll find plenty of things to challenge you.
Practice Mindfulness for Creative Pursuits
As well as allowing your mind time to daydream, it’s also helpful to practice being fully present at certain moments in the day. Mindfulness can help you to focus on the power of the current moment and get the most from every activity you practice. Try practising mindfulness at various moments throughout the day in order to reconnect with your body and mind. There are plenty of mindfulness courses available and you can also find videos and podcasts to help ease you in to the practice.
Become a Life-Long-Learner
Stay a student. Stay curious about the world around you and never stop learning. The more you learn, the more fodder you will have for your creativity. You’ll also keep your brain active and engaged. You don’t have to go back to University to keep learning. It could be as simple as reading an interesting article, listening to a TED talk on a new topic or singing up for a mass open online courses (MOOCs) which are offered for free by some of the world’s leading educational institutions. The website Coursera offers loads of fascinating courses from institutions including Stanford and UCL as well as businesses including IBM and Google.
Whatever routes you choose to boost your creativity, ensure that your mind stays open and interested. Embrace new ideas, new places and new people and adapt an attitude of curiosity. Ask questions, delve into new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone wherever possible.