As many jobs in the United States move further away from the old factory style, process driven work that used to be prevalent, and move further into a more skills and ingenuity based model, the most successful companies are increasingly becoming the most creative ones. Out is the old mind numbing, repetition based work, and in is the new and ever changing creative and inventive, idea based work.
So how to spark that creative enthusiasm at the office when you have to tackle some project that you are perhaps not so passionate about? How can you build a creative palace inside the same old work cubicle that you are so familiar with? Here are a few tips.
1. Want the New
The most important step in the process begins inside of you. You have to want to add something, life or lightning or a new perspective, to your work. Often, if they can get away with either plodding through a task on automatic pilot or attacking it with zest and fire, many people will choose the former simply because it’s less work in the short run. It’s hard to fire up those creative processes, and all the best tips in the world will not help you one bit unless you really want to find inspiration.
2. Change Stuff Around
Sometimes inhabiting the same space with the same layout day after day after year can be a major contributor to brain fry. Try moving around the furniture a bit to get the creative juices flowing. Put the desk over by the other window. Change a few of the pictures or buy a new painting for the wall. Experiment with different colours of flowers in exotic vases. If you keep doing the same thing you can expect much of the same results, and this also goes for the décor. Sometimes just switching around a few basic things in the office can give your mind an entirely new and fresh perspective on life.
3. Take Notes
Your mind is like a continual idea factory always pumping out ideas. Granted, many of these are lame, crazy, or even unrelated. Ask yourself this question: If I have to write down a hundred lame or unrelated ideas to get to one jewel, is it still worth it for me? If the answer is yes, grab a Post-It and a pen or a PDA and get into the habit of writing down practically everything that comes to mind. Develop some kind of a system to mine through those ideas at a later date in order to sort out the bad from the good from the brilliant.
4. Take Breaks
An essential step for the most creative minds, stopping and thinking about something else every once in a while can be one of the most crucial parts of your creative work day. Sometimes it’s all about stepping back and looking at the big picture, but sometimes it’s more about stepping away and looking at a different picture for a while. Schedule five minute breaks throughout your day and use these to go somewhere else and do something completely unrelated to your work. Go outside, stand in a patch of grass, and look at the sky. Find some carpeting and do a couple of stretches. Close your eyes and meditate on all the wonderful things in your life. When you get back to work, you will find your brain to be much more amenable, and your inspiration levels will soar.
5. The People Mill
Running your good ideas through the people mill can often turn them into great ideas. There’s simply nothing like collaboration if you want to do something really great. Find some like minded people and use them to bounce your ideas off of. They can open your eyes to new downsides and upsides of an idea that you might not have seen before. Make sure to also give them feedback on their ideas as well. Honesty is important in a process like this but negativity will not help anything. Make it a rule that all ideas will be considered and none will be laughed at.
Besides all the wonderful tips above which can do wonders for indirectly or directly stimulating creativity, it’s also important to set aside a specific time to actually be creative. Dedicate a portion of your day to turning everything else off and focusing on pulling down that new inspiration. Better than a time limit, an idea limit will help get you started on the right foot. Keep with this brainstorming process until you have come up with a lucky number of seven to ten fresh ideas. They don’t all have to be good ideas either, just whatever comes to mind. Later you can sort them out and see if you’ve come up with anything good. Inspiration can be found in even the most mundane of activities. We just need to learn how to spark this inspirational fire by changing the typical way we view our work and responsibilities. Make interacting with creative others a normal part of your routine, and find time to break up the monotony of your daily schedule. Seek inspiration when you might usually zone-out and go on autopilot, and always look for an opportunity to grow. Guest blogger James works for Cartridge Save, a leading specialist in printer consumables, where he analyzes and reviews printer ink supplies for businesses and consumers.