It’s hard to be creative. It really is. It’s so easy to get caught in the day to day grind of everyday life that we forget to try to add a little creativity to our lives. It happens to you; it happens to me; it happens to everyone. Unfortunately, it’s just the way it is.
I’m a strong believer that everyone can be creative. Using the Creative Problem Solving process is only one way of doing it. Not everyone knows it, and not everyone has the time to sit down and run themselves through it when they want to be creative. And, usually people are knee-deep in the creative problem solving process looking for great ideas to solve their problems and they don’t even know it.
Knowing this, here are some tips I’ve employed in my personal life to encourage inspiration to strike and help me be more creative:
– Were you ever driving somewhere and heard something on radio that caught you attention and sparked an idea, only to forget it when you got home? To help me out with this, I carry a small notepad in my back pocket where ever I go. I spend a lot of time in my car, which gives me a good amount of time to think and listen to music and audiobooks while doing so. The notepad gives me a way to capture those great ideas so I never lose them. It’s also great for when your out and about and remember something that needs to get done. If you’re like me, flashes of inspiration strike pretty much whenever they want to. The notepad gives me a way to collect all of them.
– I brush my teeth with my left-hand. I am 110% right-handed, yet I use my left hand to brush my teeth. Why, you ask? I wanted to change my daily routine. At the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), I heard a presentation by Frank Prince called “Be Creative 24/7 – 11 Key Strategies To Boost Creativity”. I wrote more about this presentation here: Practicing De Bono: A Way To Enhance Lateral Thinking. In this presentation, Frank talked about synapses – the way parts of the brain are connected. He said once they’re formed, they stay connected pretty much forever and lie dormant until they’re needed. Changing your routine is a great way to reactivate these old synapses and get get yourself thinking in a new way. By straying away from what you’re used to, you’re using those old dormant synapses again. It knocks us just enough of out of our regular routine that we can look at our everyday lives with new eyes.
– I have lots of posters, pictures, toys, and reminders to be creative around my desk at work. You can check out what my desk looks like here, but only if you don’t yell at me for the mess: https://andrewzenyuch.com/?p=76. These things serve as daily reminders to myself to think about things differently and creatively. I try to look at least one of these things once a day. Somedays I’ll pick up one of the Transformers (the lower right of my desk), or I’ll look at the painting on water portait I did at CPSI (top left, barely visible). They’re like little mini excursions for myself while at work. They help me change the way I’m currently thinking and give me a fresh perspective on my tasks.
– Not only is it a good idea to have daily reminders, but it’s a good idea to move them around as well. Even the most thought-provoking of posters can become background noise on a desk you see everyday. Moving these reminders around helps keep our mind on its toes by showing it an arrangement it’s never seen before. I don’t do this nearly as often as I should, but I try to do it at least once a month.
I hope you find some of the things I do helpful and you’re able to use them in your everyday lives. Do you have anything you do to keep yourself thinking creatively? Shoot me an email and let me know. I’m always looking for new and differeny ways to be creative. I’d love to hear yours.