By: Alana Stillitano
When many people see the word “creative” an image forms of an art student painting on a canvas in a busy street. Lots of colors are splattered around until a beautiful and unique work of art is revealed. However, creativity and creative thinking involve so much more than just art. Whether your job is creating social media posts or implementing new strategies for a business, the ability to think creatively is key to your success.
Creativity is not just something you are born with; it is like a muscle and can be strengthened with practice. It allows you to see things differently and handle uncertainty with more confidence. Creativity is a motivator and allows you to be more productive in your day to day life.
Here are some ways to enhance your creativity:
- Read. Reading is a great way to expand your knowledge, but the key here is to read about something new. By reading about more than just your industry, you allow for new ideas to develop and diverse ways to solve problems.
- Brain dump. A brain dump is a 30-40 minute exercise to try when you are having a hard time focusing. Open a blank document and simply start typing. There is no editing, self-critiquing, no topic, and even no headline. The only rule is that you cannot stop typing. At the end of the exercise is probably a hodgepodge of words but also, a spark to guide your project.
- Exercise. The benefits of daily exercise have been scientifically proven for years. Simply 30 minutes of heart rate boosting exercise four times per week leads to increased divergent thinking and increased problem solving ability (along with many other health benefits).
- Change your surroundings. Sometimes sitting in the same location, looking at the same background can become boring and stifle your creative ability. Try moving to a different location to create a new space. By switching up even the items you have on your desk, you are introducing a new perspective and way to approach you work.
- Keep a notepad. You don’t need to have a physical note pad but have a way to take notes on you at all times. Sometimes our best ideas come to us on the drive home, while making a meal, or in bed. There is nothing worse than forgetting that amazing idea! (I find that my Notes application on my phone is my savior when I want to remember something for the next day).
- Challenge yourself. Challenge can be a stimulus for increased creativity. For some, Escape Rooms and puzzles can be a great way to help jump start spontaneous ideas. Another tactic is to give yourself a time limit to solve an open ended problem, ex. How to solve world peace in a month? It seems silly but it can help open the creative channels in your mind.
Everyone has an opportunity to bring creativity into their daily practices. As public relations professionals, we bring our creativity to the table as we brainstorm and implement campaigns for clients to help them meet their goals through PR tactics.
Which of these tips will you use to intensify your creative and problem-solving skills?