I Tried These 7 Ways to Unlock My Creativity + Here’s What Happened
No matter what kind of job you have, from CEO to candle maker, creativity plays a huge role in your success and happiness. The business site Inc. explored this trait, citing that “60 percent of CEOs polled by IBM agreed that creativity was the most important skill to possess in a leadership role.” Hells yeah it is!
1. “Keep a Schedule”: It’s hard to schedule in creative pursuits that don’t include the semi-instant gratification of money. But to truly enjoy being creative, you need to spread your wings and do non-work creative pursuits too. This is especially true for those of us in a creative field. Me, I play with words all day. It’s a way cool job, and I love, and I mean L.O.V.E. being a writer, but I notice that if I take the time to do non-wordy creativity, I’m more creative all around. I decided that every day I would take two breaks, one in the morning and one in the evening. To make sure I didn’t put it off (or forget about it), I set my alarm. At 11:15am, for 20 minutes, I’m taking an innovation break. I set time aside to doodle, plan, plot and to think about ways to improve my side hustle. The second break, at 4:15pm, is a time where I would work one of my many hobbies. For this week, I decided to whip out my embroidery kit. While there were things that went untouched on my to-do list, taking this time was oh-so-needed mentally.
2. “Surround Yourself With Creative People”: How much do I love creative people? SO MUCH. When I’m around makers and creators, I can’t help but be energized and inspired. Inc. notes Albert Einstein saying: “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” Luckily for me, I have a kid in my home and children are inherently creative. They have a freedom that’s so meaningful. So while my career is one I do from the comfort of my own home, I do have this creative energy that invades every day after school ends. Facebook and Instagram are also good ways to keep surrounded by my creative pals, albeit virtually.
3. “Have Fun”: “All work and no play makes you a dull boy (or girl).” Soooo true. When you return from having any sort of fun, your creative tank is refilled, and it’s best to have work and fun co-mingle if you can. Take a place like Pixar Studios in Emeryville: Along with all sorts of sporty fun (beach volleyball courts, basketball courts and a swanky pool), they inject fun into their whole day, from inspiring art on the walls to unique, customized work areas shaped like cottages. There is nothing as invigorating as good old fashioned fun. I don’t have my own cottage/office yet, so to inject some fun into my day, I played some super happy music (went retro with the B-52s), put on bright colors (hello, prints!) and tried to stop myself every now and then to smile (since smiling is so much a part of feeling the fun).
4. “Get Out”: Instead of heading to the gym (okay, who am I kidding, I don’t have a gym membership), it’s suggested that getting exercise outside and in nature has beneficial effects on creativity. I can totes get down with a workout in the great outdoors. Each day, I opted to take a jaunt to a nearby wooded park. It’s peaceful, beautiful and a perfect place to get the blood (and hence, the creativity) flowing. I’m not one for jogging, so I got in touch with my inner power walker and hit the trails. I was pretty stoked to come up with not one but two “genius” ideas while walking. I had my phone with me, so I was able to leave audio notes so I wouldn’t forget.
5. “Act Like a Little Kid”: I’m lucky — I have a kid, so it’s easy for me to have the source material to get in touch with my inner child. But even if you don’t have a wee one under your roof, you can pretend (you know, like, as if you were a kid). One of the things I did was skip around the block. Skipping not only gives you that lighthearted little kid feeling, but it’s also good exercise, giving you the same cardiovascular effect as running. I also tried out a couple of other fave kid pastimes. I did a little finger painting and sculpted with PlayDoh. For each of those, I did not think about the product or the item I was making; rather, it was the process. Both the feeling of the paint on my fingertips and the softness of the PlayDoh in my hands were incredibly satisfying, and it was a stress-free experience since I wasn’t trying to create something — I was merely playing.
6. “Daydream As Much As Possible”: When I was a kid, I remember spending countless hours daydreaming. Now, my only daydreaming happens when I’m staring down at my to-do list and fantasizing that picking up the dry cleaning, putting the stew in the slow cooker and completing all my work tasks will magically get done without me. To kick-start non-task oriented daydreaming, I got into a cozy position on the couch, closed my eyes and let myself free. But I have to admit, it was difficult to switch back to work mode.
7. “Let Go of the Idea of Perfection”: Creativity is not perfect. It can be messy, disordered and chaotic. If you strive too hard for perfection, you’ll lose sight of the creative spirit. Plus, failing is how we learn. By making mistakes, you can adjust, correct and create in a more meaningful way. Striving for perfection will also hinder you to take chances and to try new things. I took this opportunity to draw. I’m one who paints pictures with my words rather than my hands. Grabbing my pastels, I went to my backyard and did a little landscape of what I saw. It was FAR from perfect, but the feeling it gave me, to just try, that was pretty perfect right there.
In a perfect world (yes, I’m throwing shade yet again at perfection), I’d be able to do all of these each day. But playing, having fun, hanging out with creative people — that all takes more time than I have. Taking these in smaller doses, spreading out these tips to every week rather than every day, will work for me. And really, how can I say no to the goal of having fun and acting like a kid?
Which one of these creativity tools would you most likely do? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)