We entrepreneurs depend on creativity…to come up with bold new business ideas, develop new products, write articles, books, and blog posts, hatch out new marketing methods, and lots more.
And it probably doesn’t surprise you one bit, that I LOVE being creative. I relish the thrill of thinking outside the box, coming up with innovative new solutions to old problems, and just geeking out and creating new things for the heck of it.
But, you know what the hardest part about being creative is, for me? Sometimes, “creativity” likes to play hard-to-get. And I’m learning that in order to be consistently, reliably creative, I need to play and explore in new and different ways – on a regular basis. Like physical exercise strengthens the body, regularly challenging the creative brain makes our creativity stronger, more flexible, and able to perform when we need it!
So, here are my methods for digging yourself out of that creative rut, starting with an oft-neglected activity: REST!
Ways to Kick-Start (and Maintain) Your Creative Muscle
First, Detach! Take a mini-‘cation, and get away from your normal working environment. Get out and work in your garden; go on a nature walk; spend the day at the spa; or, the whole weekend at the beach. Be sure and take a notebook with you, so if a new idea just happens to come to you while you’re there, you can write it down.
Second, Refresh! After a lovely outing, come back to your workspace and try something new. If you usually type out ideas on your laptop, try writing them in a notebook instead. If you normally just make lists of ideas, try doodling your thoughts at random on a piece of paper or on a dry erase board. If you always write things down in black pen, try colored pens or pencils to inject more life into your brainstorms. And while you’re at it, move to a comfy chair away from your desk – because creativity flows more freely when your computer monitor isn’t staring you down with endless e-mails, to-do lists, and other distractions.
Keep nurturing! Go on walks in your community, go window -shopping for the sheer purpose of observation (leave your cash & credit cards at home), hang out in a Hallmark Gold Crown store for inspiration (my favorite!), or explore the books at your local public library.
Spice up your workspace! Bring in a colorful paperweight, expose yourself to nature with a new potted plant (I recommend African violets, they’re wonderful because they bloom year-round), or add an inspirational wall hanging next to your desk. Bonus, if you can open up your blinds/curtains to let in natural light, to stimulate your creative brain. And, don’t forget to give away or sell those things in your office you no longer like or use – turn your mind-clogging clutter into another person’s new treasure!
I’d like to conclude this lesson in boosting creativity, with my favorite trick of all: Shake things UP! Get outside your usual patterns, and do things differently (even if just for an hour or two). By doing this on a regular basis, you’ll be primed and ready to think outside the box when you really need to.
More smart ideas & advice like this in your inbox every week?
About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!