Creative thinking is a valuable skill in any line of work. Inevitably we all have days where that creative spirit seems to be missing, or we fall into work habits that ignore the benefits and fun we experience in exploring our creative thoughts. Here are five ideas to boost and foster creative thinking and problem-solving.
Play isn’t just for kids. According to The Leadership Guy, Peter Economy, writing for Inc., creative people revisit their inner child on daily basis, finding opportunities to play both at home and at work. A variety of research studies have shown that play has a large impact on the way we think and work creatively. One body of research dates back to 1967. In this study participants were given the task to imagine multiple uses for one object. Results showed that the participants were more likely to come up with more ideas if they were first allowed to tinker or play with the object first. For graphic designers, the process of doodling – playing around freely with ideas – often frees the mind to wander and begin exploring the options that form the basis of a great design. If you’re looking to spark creativity, take some time to play first. And if you want to keep the creative juices flowing, you must promote and accept play as well.
Don’t Be Afraid to Daydream
Take time from your day to let your mind wander. This act can significantly impact your creative thinking. According to Inc., research shows daydreaming can bring out the best in our creative selves, as it stimulates connections in our brains and allows us to consider ideas we may not have initially considered. Additionally, allowing your mind to wander enhances your ability to problem solve, reports Psychology Today. A study from 2009 out of the University of British Columbia found that daydreaming can help solve problems. Creativity itself is often defined as, at its core, a process of solving problems. Taking the time to relax and let your mind wander is a healthy habit, but far too often is characterized as an impediment to production. On the contrary, it can restore and re-energize.
Experts say that if you want a more creative brain, the answer can be found in traveling more often. Experiencing the world can open the mind to new ways of thinking, reports The Atlantic. Both psychologists and neuroscientists believe that traveling can affect a mental change, changing and revitalizing the way our brains are wired, opening up our minds and allowing us to think creatively. All of this comes from sights, sounds, even smells of the places we travel, which spark different synapses in our brains. Whether you take up residence in Washington D.C. or travel across the globe, you’re likely to come back more creative than ever before.
Take up a Hobby
While work is important, it’s equally important to have a hobby or activity that you’re fond of outside of the office. Whether you prefer painting on canvas, posting a blog or cooking in the kitchen, having a way to express your creative side through a hobby or side project can impact your everyday creativity. Fast Company reports that having a hobby can make us better at many aspects of our lives. Still skeptical? When Google began its 20 percent rule, which allowed employees to spend 20 percent of their time exploring creative side projects, they were surprised to see an 80 percent increase in both productivity and creativity at work.
Be a Risk Taker
Being creative and taking risks go hand-in-hand, as most creative thinkers are big, big risk takers. To envision a product, bring the product to life and then put it out there for the world to see is quite risky. But the rewards are plentiful. Imagine, where would we be if nobody ever took a risk?
Also – be sure to regularly take time to check out the creativity of others. In every field, people are continually pushing the boundaries in unique ways. Admiring what others have created will often nurture your own creative spirit with new ideas and excitement.
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