Thinking Outside of the Box: How to Spark Your Creativity
By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching at Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Are you looking for ways to get inspired and spark your creativity? Look over the following ideas and you just might find a few that may help you to recharge that creative streak.
Take a “trip” outside your daily environment – do something different. It’s easy to get into a rut and our days become very repetitious. Take a different route to work, rearrange your office, take a break during the day and leave the office, even if it’s just to walk around the block.
Get out and spend time in nature. Nature can inspire great creativity if you actually pay attention and leave your phone in your pocket. Take a long walk and you may find that you can do your thinking while being inspired by nature and the architecture around you. Maybe you get up an hour earlier to walk in the neighborhood, or use some of your lunches to get out of the office and enjoy a park or residential gardens near your office.
Take time to relax and play. Gather for an afternoon or evening with friends or family just for fun. It’s a great way to get those creative juices flowing.
Unplug and recharge. Get rid of distractions even if just for an hour. Shut off your phone, close the door, leave your computer behind and relax. Let your family and/or team know that when the office door is closed, you are unavailable. Use that time to meditate, or gather a few of those design magazines that you haven’t had time to enjoy and relax and go through them and let yourself be inspired.
Brainstorm. This can also go under doing something different from the routine. Set aside a time on the calendar to gather your team and have a creative brainstorming session. Identify a topic (marketing, procedures, client onboarding, etc.) and just come up with “unfiltered” ideas. Don’t critique or analyze (either yourself or others) while you are brainstorming. Just get those ideas down on paper or on a whiteboard, or on post-it notes that you put all over the wall. Then allow enough time to evaluate the results of the brainstorming at the end. Have fun with this!
Keep an idea book in your purse/pocket and at your bedside. When ideas come to you – whether in a dream, on the way to work, while getting ready in the morning – an idea book helps to capture those thoughts. Use the book to jot down inspirational words, observations, or use it to brainstorm in the moment
Design an environment that inspires your creativity – often designers are so focused on designing for others that they neglect to create inspirational spaces for themselves – your sanctuary, as one successful designer calls it. What would your sanctuary look like?
And finally, allow yourself to make mistakes – often amazing design comes from what was actually a mistake. To quote Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”