Don’t you just admire artists when they create great music, paintings, books, machines and even buildings? How about interior designers and landscapers when they create beautiful homes and gardens? Awesome, right? We always imagine that if we are not musicians, painters, writers, engineers, interior designers or architects then we are not creative. Yet creativity is required in every area of life and we use it almost daily.
Each time you solve a problem at work you are being creative. Each time a surgeon deals with a challenging case and finds a way to save a patient against all odds, he/she is being creative. You do not even need to be an expert in an area in order to come up with creative solution. It takes thinking outside the box to come up with solutions and sometimes such solutions come from people who are not close to the problem. They simply look at things differently. So believe me, you are creative every day.
Now, if you need to create a solution and you are struggling to come up with anything, your work can grind to a stop. That is when you need ways to boost your creative juices.
Here are ways to boost your creativity:
1. Connect With What Makes You Feel Alive
If you find that you are struggling with creativity and you are not happy with your work, then maybe you are not in the right field. Some areas, for example the medical field, are highly regulated and will not allow you to be creative. If your creativity is stifled and you feel unhappy then it is time to relook at your career. What exactly makes you happy? What would you rather spend the day doing if money was not a factor? Follow your heart and start working in your favourite area even if you start as a hobby during the weekend. You will find yourself enjoying yourself because you are free to be creative. You might end up creating a business out of your hobby and do it full time.
At times it is not the field itself but the organisation that you work for. If you love your work but the organisation suppresses your creative mind then it is time to change your job. Look for an organisation that encourages creativity.
2. Think How Others Will Use Your Work
Research has shown that when people imagine how others might use their work, they become more creative. Use that technique in your work too. How will others use your work? What can you do to make your work more useful for them? Is there an alternative use for your work?
3. Start on Your Project then Daydream
Do as much as you can on your project or solution. Then when you are stuck spend some time day dreaming about it. Ideas will start flowing into your consciousness. This is the method that Thomas Edison claims to have used when he was inventing the light bulb.
4. Meditate to Overcome Barriers to Creative Potential
Sometimes it is difficult to be creative because of information overload. What you need is daily quiet moments so that the mind can expand and open up. You will find that innovative solutions and new ideas will flow. Also during the quiet moments you will become aware of the inner dialogue that generally stops you from taking risks in your problem solving. With awareness comes the courage to leap forward despite fear. Meditation can boost productivity.
5. Become More Creative Systematically
When you are stuck and cannot proceed with a project, it may be good to temporarily set it aside then go out there and talk to experts, read a lot on the subject or even take a short course. When you have enough input you will find new ideas coming up.
6. Borrow Ideas from Other Industries
Are you looking for fresh ideas? Do your research. Find out what businesses are dominating their industries and why. What innovation is driving their success? How can you adapt their ideas to your industry? How can you improve on their ideas? You will find your creative juices flowing again once you have something to work with.
7. Sleep on Your Problem
If you are struggling to find a solution to your work and you have wracked your brain to the limit, stop. At bed time instruct your sub-conscious mind to give you the solution during your sleep state. You will definitely dream of the solution which you can then implement and finish your work. This method has been used by many great inventors and scientists. In fact this is how Kekulé, the German organic chemist, dreamed of the benzene ring and woke up with an “aha!“
8. Exercise Can Boost Creativity
If you are too sedentary you might develop certain thought pattens and never bother to break out of the box. Strenuous exercise forces you to clear your mental fog and tireness. If you are not the gym or sport type, then take a walk. Time away from work, the fresh air and the strain of walking will clear your mind and new ideas will flow.
9. Take Art and Photography Classes
One way to improve your creative ability is to take classes in the fine arts such as photography, drawing and painting. These days there are plenty of classes that you can take on the internet on platforms like YouTube, Udemy and Skillshare. The classes will change the way you think and view the world and help you to become more creative.
10. Limit Your Choices
When brainstorming, do not work with the usual tools and resources. That will just kill creativity because your mind is tired of the same old stuff. Restrict your choices for a change. Instead of writing a story with 1000 words write it with 500 words if you are a writer. Create a song with less chords if you are a musician or design rooms with less colours if you are an interior designer. The limitation will force you to be creative and still come up with solutions that work.
As you can see, it is not only those who are artistic by nature who are creative. Creativity can be developed. If you are in the middle of an innovation and you are stuck, your creativity can be enhanced by external stimuli. There are no limits to creativity!