As the long weekend draws near and you have the opportunity to shut down the computer and make the most of these last summer days, this is the best time to nurture and feed your creativity.
To show up and be the best leader you can be, and to make a difference through your work and business, creativity is key.
Day-to-day Work Stifles Creativity
When you’re under pressure, with back-to-back meetings, endless to do lists and facing constant deadlines, it’s difficult to take time out to get a new perspective, to challenge your thinking and look at problems through a different lens.
And that, in a nutshell, is what creativity is.
Creativity is the ability to look at problems from a different perspective, and come up with new ways of thinking and acting that lead to a different result.
Our day-to-day lives stifle creativity by the very nature of how we live and work. No small wonder that companies struggle with innovation. In the struggle for short-term achievement of targets, it’s difficult to take the long view, to look at the bigger picture and come up with products or services that set you apart.
How to Feed Creative and Innovative Thinking?
So, as you enjoy the last of these summer days, how can you make the most of this ‘quiet’ time and feed your creativity and foster innovative thinking?
1. Change your environment
In order to generate new thinking, you have to change your surroundings – whether it’s a nature walk, a pub, a city break or a house-swap, so you can get the rest and the new stimuli you need. Or do something completely, totally different.
The most extreme creative experience for me was a trip many years ago to the infamous Burning Man festival in Nevada. I saw with my own eyes what my mind would never have believed possible. It somehow reset my creative wiring.
What could you do or participate in that would radically alter the way you see the world?
2. Be inspired
When you’re fed by inspiration the well-spring of creativity suddenly opens up. Do whatever you need to do to get ‘in flow’… Whether it’s through music, exercise, dance, nature, art, travel, reading etc. Doing something different from your everyday work feeds your soul and is essential for the creative process.
3. Keep an ‘ideas’ journal
I’m enjoying reading and ‘playing’ with the exercises in Tinkertoys, an excellent book on cultivating creativity. This is one of the tips the author Michael Michalko gives – making sure you get in to the practice of not only having ideas, but then recording them and revisiting them in order to piece different ideas together to get a new solution.
4. Create a collage or vision board
You don’t have to be ‘artistic’ to do this… all you need is a large piece of card or paper, and lots of magazines. Set aside half an hour and cut out pictures that ‘speak’ to you. Don’t process or think through why they resonate or appeal, once they are cut out you can piece them all together on to the board. Only when you have finished can you look at it and see the underlying themes. What new ways of looking at your life and work come through?
5. Broaden your horizon
Down-time is the perfect opportunity to re-connect to what it’s all for. What difference are you making? What problem are you solving? Which other industries or businesses face similar challenges and how are they addressing them?
Make the most of this time to get creative, be inspired and return to work refreshed and raring to go!