Everyone can use a little more inspiration, whether at work, school, or home. Try these tips to boost your creativity.
- Remember, being creative isn’t only for “artsy” people
Many people think creativity is about having artistic skills. They say, “I can’t write, I can’t paint, and every time I take a photo I put my finger over the lens. I’m just not creative.” I say, “You can be a creative person. You are a creative person already, you just don’t know it.” Creativity is about using your imagination in every endeavor. It’s not just for artists.
- Learn something every day
Creativity often involves adapting an idea to make it your own. Continually expose yourself to new ideas and the creative well will never run dry. Always have a book on your nightstand, if you can. Download audio books or check them out from the library to play while driving or exercising. Above all, learn something from every experience.
- Get outside
Whether it’s outside your house or just outside your mind, changing your perspective will help the ideas flow. Many people find connecting with nature to be a good way to slow their frantic lives. Sometimes all you need is a little peace and quiet to hear what your mind has to say.
- Drink enough water
I’m always amazed at how much more clearly I think when I’m well-hydrated. The Mayo Clinic says that symptoms of mild dehydration include tiredness, headache, muscle weakness, and dizziness. So drink up and think more clearly.
As with drinking water, I don’t always realize how much of my energy comes from exercising until I have to stop. I had an amazing spurt of productivity recently when I renewed my commitment to exercise every day. But I pushed myself too hard, hurt my knees, and had to take a break. I’ve felt sluggish ever since. I’m looking forward to the burst of creative energy I’ll get when I go back to the gym.
- Think big
If you’re stuck working out the details of a project, step back. Go over your goals for the project, and remind yourself what you expect from the result. Remember: the world will not end if every detail is not perfect. Being able to relax and see things from the long view helps keep the creativity flowing.
- Think small
At the same time, don’t get lost in the big picture and forget to think about the details. Having a creative vision is important, often essential. But the details make the whole thing come together. Take time to plan out the small steps you’ll need to climb to your final result. Having a well-designed plan will give you a solid base from which to let your creativity run wild.
- Pretend you’re ten and haven’t yet forgotten how to use your imagination
One of my favorite books is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery . Every time I read it I’m reminded of the importance of wonder. Curiosity, imagination, and wonder are qualities we often expect to leave behind as we grow to adulthood. But that’s a mistake. These three things are the basic ingredients of creativity. Remember what it was like when the whole world was waiting to be discovered? Recapture that feeling and your creativity will surge.
Productivity is important, but it’s not an end in itself. Being organized, motivated, and getting things done only improves your life when it leaves you time to dream. Have you ever noticed that a lot of your best thinking is in the shower? Having time to yourself when you don’t have to be tightly focused on your next deadline is essential to creativity.
Try these tips and you’ll find that your creativity blossoms naturally. All it needs is fertile soil in which to grow.