“I’m not creative.”
Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. The phrase has become a standard chorus for many, especially those caught up in the day-to-day grind of a “non-creative” job.
However, regardless of your career, creativity can play a huge role in your personal success—as well as the success of your company. From dreaming up innovative new processes, to attacking a problem from a new angle, to finding fresh ways to boost morale with your team—there is no limit to what creativity can do in your career.
I can hear the rebuttal now: “Yes, I know creativity is important. But I’m just not creative!”
Boy, do I have news for you…
You are! (Seriously, I promise.) Everyone is creative. Even if it’s hard to see sometimes, there is a creative spirit inside each of us—it just might need a little help coming out to play. Here are 5 totally doable, everyday things you can do to help rediscover and boost your creativity.
1. Doodle in Meetings
Yes, this seemingly mindless task can actually bolster your creativity—and your productivity. In addition to the more obvious benefit of creating your very own pieces of notepad art, doodling may actually improve recall. In a study where half of a group was assigned a doodling task while listening to a boring phone call, and the other half went sans doodles, the doodlers recalled 29% more information from the conversation. So doodle away!
2. Make a Dump List
First, get your mind out of the gutter. Next, get out your phone and open the Notes app (or whatever similar app you prefer) and get to dumping. A dump list is basically a running record of all the little random thoughts that pop into your head (a place to “dump” your thoughts… I understand if you want to rename it). Have a half-baked shower thought in the morning? Jot it down. See a clever headline or turn of phrase in a magazine article? Put in on the list. Not only will this running list act as an inspiration bank for later, it can also trigger something that creativity is great at: making subconscious connections that yield bigger, better ideas.
3. Go a Little Out of the Ordinary
Autopilot is the ultimate creativity killer. So, switch things up once in a while. Take the long route to the break room, park on the other side of the building, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. All of these little changes can keep your mind alert and working in your “off time,” and may even have you stumbling across something you wouldn’t normally notice.
4. Play Brain Games
Those “brain training” apps aren’t just for those above a certain age—they can bump-up anyone’s brainpower. Plus, they’re wicked fun. Instead of filling your downtime with Candy Crush, try one of these “brain workout” apps. You really do see an improvement, even with semi-consistent use. For those who tend to be on the competitive side, it can be rewarding to see your rank increase over time. And by golly, the ads are true—they don’t feel like a workout at all. Personal favorites are Lumosity and Peak. You can pay for premium content (I don’t), but the free offerings are still great and change daily.
5. Consume Lots of Media
I get it. It’s hard to find the time, energy and/or motivation to read those industry articles or listen to those business podcasts. But don’t worry—literally anything you consume can help inspire your creativity and spark fresh ideas. Listen to a hilarious comedy podcast, or read an interview with an actress you really love, or listen to a new playlist on Spotify. Whether it’s while you’re driving, doing dishes or catching some downtime between tasks, branch out and seek things that you love. That passion will keep you feeling refreshed, engaged and, in the end… more creative.
Creativity is an immensely valued trait in any industry, and believe it or not, creativity lives inside each and every one of us. With these 5 tips, we hope that you’re able to get more in touch with your creative side, and have a little fun while you’re at it. If you’ve tried any of these tips, or have some of your own, let me know about your experience—connect with me on LinkedIn or comment below!
Find even more creative inspiration from Seed’s digital magazine, The Fire Theft Project: Conversations on Creativity.
Angela Jones is a Creative Director at Seed Strategy and Associate Editor for Seed’s The Fire Theft Project: Conversations on Creativity. She specializes in inspiring creative thinking and engaging readers with concise copy that captures the essence of ideas.