Need help embracing creative insights? There are ways to hone your creativity for better productivity, and some research and results are even backed by science! Being creative all the time is a tough job. You might need some inspiration, a change of scenery, faith in a vision, or a new way of looking at things.
Next time you stand before a creative block, defeat it with this list:
What inspires you to create? Most creativity comes from inspiration. Artists, writers, musicians, and just about anyone who makes something original and unique must feel inspired to create. Some turn to nature to get inspired (the stars at night, the sky at sunset, a walk by the lake), and others see people or everyday events as a source of inspiration. Discover your source of inspiration to improve your creativity for better productivity.
What about cute animals? A study by Hiroshima University found that watching ‘kawaii’ kittens play with a ball of yarn sharpens our mental focus. The research also found that “tenderness elicited by cute images” benefits our motor function at the computer. Maybe this is why the internet if full of cats.
Write Down Your Flight of Ideas
Are you often bombarded with a flood of ideas into your head? It’s easy to forget your best ideas, when you don’t write them down. Keeping a place to take notes on hand assures you never forget your genius. As a writer, I often use little “quips” that I’ve thought up in the moment and written down when creating the bulk of my writing.
Change of Scenery
Do you need a break, or even a vacation? Your ability to be happy is one of the most important aspects of creativity, and taking a break in the day for a little change in scenery can have a dramatic effect on your productivity. Studies show that a change in scenery may be the key to keeping up with a rapid work pace. In addition, everyone needs a vacation every once in awhile.
Business Insider found that following a 40 hour work week, productivity decreases by 50%. A study by The Happiness Advantage also suggests that when your brain thinks positively, productivity improves by 31%, sales increase by 37%, and creativity and revenues can even triple. So give yourself a break!
If you take regular breaks, and still feel bogged down, it might be time for a vacation. Well-planned vacations are the new key to productivity in the workplace. “Well-planned” is an important factor in that the stresses of travel are reduced and happiness optimized. For instance, Michelle Gielan from the Institute for Applied Positive Research and Harvard Business Review together suggest your vacation should fit this criteria:
- Plan a month in advance and prepare your co-workers for your time away
- Go outside your city (the further the better)
- Meet with a local host or other knowledgeable guide at the location
- Have the travel details set before going
Following these guidelines should mean a 94% success rate in increasing happiness (thus productivity) via vacation.
Take a Hike – or Walk, or Jog, or Run!
A study by the University of Bristol named “Exercising at work and self-reported work performance” indicates that exercising in the morning before work yielded better time management and interpersonal relations for workers throughout the day.
Be Unconventional (Pen and Paper vs. Mouse and Screen)
Do you write at a laptop or create using technology? Try switching back to analogue mode with a pen and paper. Use your own hand to form the words or pictures on the page. Sometimes sitting behind a computer screen can hold you back from tapping into your creative potential. You might need to draw pictures, or write more freely to develop an idea. Break away from the lines on the page, and start with a blank sheet of paper.
Listen to Music
According to a study by Teresa Lesiuk from the University of Windsor (Canada), people who listened to music when doing technological work completed the tasks quicker and at a higher quality standard than the control.
Keep a Schedule and the Rest will Follow
You’re spending too much time thinking about time. Time should be the easiest part of creative work. Make time to tackle your creative goals, be realistic, and work out your own schedule. When you keep a schedule, you are more aware of progress, issues, and meeting deadlines on time. Worrying about all this is not good for creativity. Productivity can be gained simply by writing down your plans in advance to act as an outline for goals. Keep a calendar to get stuff done with better organization via schedule.
Stop Censoring Your Ideas
There’s a time and place for everything. No need to censor your opinions when you keep your thoughts in a journal or notebook. Most writers understand that there’s an importance in knowing your audience, but some of your best ideas could get lost if you reserve writing for such rigid standards and material alone.
Write down all your thoughts, and exactly how they come to you. Save the censorship and editing for after your spark of creativity has left. After you’re finished writing or brainstorming freely, you can then go back and adapt what you’ve accomplished to speak to your specific audience. No need to stop yourself in the middle of your creative flow!
Believe in Your Vision
Create with confidence. The more faith you have in your vision, the easier it will be to see it through to the end. In fact, you could ruin the outcome when you fear failure. Doubting causes you to hesitate, and acts as huge de-motivator. For this reason, it’s better to speak of your creative work as if it’s already a “thing”. For example, say “once the new website is up, traffic will be up,” instead of, “if the website ever goes up, our traffic might go up.” The second way of looking at things casts too much doubt and crushes your dreams more than the lackadaisical sarcasm on your average demotivational poster.
Meditate and the Answer will Come
A wise teacher would say, meditate and the answer will come. The more you worry about a problem you can’t seem to solve, the worse it gets. You can boost your creativity for better productivity by quieting the mind and ridding yourself of excessive thoughts. Take time out of your day to focus on absolutely nothing. This will help by relaxing, taking control of your creative flow, and channeling your creative energy in a constructive and beneficial manner.
Sometimes the answer is just plain and simply, “no”. In fact, learning to say no nicely can help get you out of plenty of jams and avoid being held back by unnecessary stresses. When you can’t seem to fit that into your creative flow, just say no!
What do you do to increase creativity for better productivity? To share your insight, leave a comment, and be sure to share this article with your network.
About the Author: As Senior Copywriter at Revital, Amber crafts content copy with passion. She writes words that reach across the online channels and speak to each client’s industry and audience. Follow Revital Agency on Twitter!