The value of creativity, in work and in life, cannot be oversold. People write a lot about how to brainstorm more effectively, for instance. But, what about those creative experiences that we learn so much from as kids? Can they help us at work?
I’ve recently discovered that the answer is yes — creative experiences can help you run your business better. In fact, I was recently at an art museum and read about the lives of legendary artists, which taught me some new ideas on how to more effectively manage people I work with.
When we see creativity and immerse ourselves in interesting worlds, new ideas are bound to come. So, next time you’re feeling a little stuck at work, or just want to bring some beauty into your life, try one of these creativity tactics to indulge that side of yourself.
1. Go to a museum on your lunch break
Take an hour or two if you can spare it to surround yourself with amazing art, music, and archeology (or even air and space artifacts). Museums are full of impressive innovations throughout history, so they can be a perfect way to get you into an innovative spirit when you get back to your desk. Surrounding yourself with the work of top creators and thinkers from different time periods and backgrounds is also helpful for seeing the world from other perspectives. Bringing that mentality back to the office can make you a stronger leader and team member.
2. Listen to some new music
Listening to music is a helpful way to relax which can get the creative juices flowing. But if you’re listening to the same Taylor Swift album for the fifteenth time you probably aren’t expanding your creative horizons all that much.
Throw on a new album by an artist you’ve never heard of and see where it takes you. Try a totally different musical style than you typically listen to. Ask whatever music app you use to generate a random playlist. You might be surprised by the different musical landscapes you discover, and even what you might learn from the change.
3. Try an art project to boost creativity
There are a range of art projects you can do without even leaving your desk. Many of them are going to force you to think about problem-solving differently than you’re used to at work. Whether you’re making origami flowers that require precise folding skills or perfecting an extremely detailed page in an adult coloring book, creating something and fixing issues you encounter with your own two hands is sure to help you think differently. As a bonus, it is also a good way to get out your nervous energy, change up your routine and combat any boredom or monotony you might feel from staring at a computer all day.
4. Change up your workspace
Whether you do this with some simple spring cleaning or by totally redecorating, switching things up is bound to get the creative juices flowing. While a major change like a new paint job or a new desk might end up costing you a lot of time and money, you don’t have to spend much of either to make a big change. From moving your desk to the other side of the room to hanging a fun poster on the wall, there are lots of little things you can do to reclaim your space.
5. Spend time talking to someone you haven’t seen in a while
Catching up with an old friend can be a refreshing and enjoyable change of pace. Even better, it just might get your creative juices flowing by introducing you to (or reminding you of) a perspective you hadn’t been considering, whether it be on a work or life issue. This can be especially true if you catch up with an old coworker from a previous role or a close friend who has known different “versions” of you.
6. Try writing
It’s no secret that writing is one of the best mechanisms you have for getting ideas out there. We also write things down when we want to remember or retain them. That helps us process information and articulate what we’re thinking, whether it be to ourselves or to others. Taking a few minutes out of the workday to write can help you get thoughts and concepts you’ve been thinking about out of your mind and onto paper. Bonus points if you can come up with a fiction story to really get the creative juices flowing.
7. Cook something new to boost creativity
New recipes require a combination of improvisation and precision and can really force you to tap into your creativity, especially if the constraints of your groceries or kitchen force you to think outside the box. What’s even better is that you get to eat your creation when you’re done, which will excite your taste buds and show you’re capable of making something delicious.
8. Practice your improv skills with your co-workers
Many companies hold improv sessions that encourage creativity and team building. Improv might sound like silly theater games at first, but it can actually become a valuable exercise in both collaboration and thinking on your feet.
In improv your mission is to expand upon what another person says or does, often in the funniest, most out-of-the-box way possible. Practicing this skill can open your business brain to radical ideas as well as show you and other team members how to develop ideas together. It can also help more introverted workers feel encouraged to speak up.
9. Get your hands dirty
It might not be that easy to do at your desk, but since so many people are working remotely now it’s the perfect time to get a little messy in the middle of the work day. This can look a lot of different ways. Take an extended break to make some repairs to your car, bake a cake, or play with clay. I know one executive who does his gardening at different times throughout the day. These things can put you in touch with the physicality of your surroundings — which can give you a refreshed feeling that you’ll love when you get back to your computer screen.
Thanks for reading! Do you want to create thought leadership articles like the one above? If you struggle to translate your ideas into content that will help build credibility and influence others, sign up to get John’s latest online course “Writing From Your Voice” here.