January can be a tough month for creativity. With cold temperatures, less sunlight, and more time curled up indoors it can be tough to get over the creative hump. I listed some ways I use to boost my creativity and get stuff done!
Sometimes it’s difficult not to try to complete everything at once, but to boost creativity it’s a good idea to batch your tasks. That is, to devote all of your brainpower solely to one aspect of the creative pursuit such as only doing research for an article. Often things that keep us from creating are stress and anxiety coming from other places, so only focusing on one specific task and making progress on that task will allow you to feel confident that you’re making good progress and getting stuff done.
Sometimes we get wound up in our expectations of ourselves and what we should be doing, or even competing with someone else. Meditation will help you bring things into focus and shake the negative energy that’s around you. Mary Maddox with meditation oasis has a really great (and short!) meditation that I like to listen to when I feel stuck.
GO FOR A WALK
As simple as it sounds, walking will help you get up, stretch your legs, and get the creative juices flowing. A Stanford study found that walking actually increases creativity by as much as sixty percent! The good news is that it doesn’t really matter where you walk – to the vending machines, on a treadmill, or on a bright nature-filled path in a park – the simple act of walking is what makes the difference.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Music itself won’t make you creative, but it sets the stage to help you get to your creative space mentally. Upbeat and happy classical music has been seen as most effective for this (if you enjoy classical music). Classical music has been tested most frequently to improve creativity, but studies have shown that any music the listener enjoys can have positive creative effects.
Not just any ‘ole book, either. Have a handful of books ready to go that are focused in whatever creative endeavor you’re in. If you’re an artist, grab some art books that are both visually and intellectually stimulating. Taking a break by reading these books will provide you with some much needed down time and provide an influx of ideas. Some of my favorites are Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Cool Factor by Andrea Linett.
ASK FOR ADVICE + FEEDBACK
Sometimes all we need is a critical eye to push into that next creative space. Others think about things differently than we do and can provide different creative insight or an idea that we haven’t considered before. Sometimes I will ask Evan for his feedback on a post I’m writing and the advice he gives doesn’t always feel useful at the time, but it gives me ideas for another post or direction I can take the current post.
TAKE A SHOWER OR BATH
Shower thoughts are a VERY real thing. Sitting behind your computer all day can leave you feeling stressed, anxious, and frustrated. Taking some time (if you’re working from home and are able) to take a shower break will give you some much needed reflection time on your current creative project and leave you feeling clean, refreshed, and ready to look at the project with new eyes.
Dr. Seuss was so successful in his books because he was told he needed to write them with the first 50 words a child knows and understands. Though this may sound counterintuitive to the creative process, restricting ourselves in a similar way can prompt us to enter a new creative space that leaves us with an awesome product. For example, if I felt overwhelmed with this post and thought there were far too many ways to improve creativity for me to write about, I could make this post more restrictive by looking at ways writers can increase productivity.
GIVE YOURSELF SHORT BLOCKS OF TIME
Parkinson’s theory states that work will expand to the time allotted to complete it. I know this rings true for me on many things, so to make sure you are making the most effective use of your time work diligently on one specific task for just 15 minutes. This type of intense focus will keep your mind from being cluttered by other things that are hurting your progress. You will also be more focused on whatever you are working toward because you know it is for a set, short amount of time.
DON’T CRITICIZE YOURSELF
Creativity can be like a scared animal sometimes. The more desperate we are to pet it and hold it, the more it retreats into our minds and fill us with frustration. Even if you aren’t where you wanted to be on a task, it’s important to take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come and the work you’ve done on that specific project. Criticizing yourself for things in the past will not move you forward, especially when you need creativity to finish a task. So keep your outlook positive and future-focused.
I hope you found these tips helpful! What are some of your favorite ways to inspire creativity?
Thanks for stopping by!