“Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” – Sir Ken Robinson
Creativity, some belief, is the reserve of the creative industries. However, creativity is required to thrive and grow in any business. Creativity not only helps you to solve problems, but regular practice will gift you with the skills to think further and further outside the proverbial ‘box’ and to encounter brand new and innovative advances and solutions.
Creativity also helps to prevent you from getting stuck in a rut. It is important to your personal wellbeing and resilience to feel like your brain is developing, and to ensure that every workday does not end up feeling monotonous… the same!
Having creative skills always adds value, but fostering it takes conscious practice. Here are a few everyday exercises you might like to employ to build up your capacity for creativity…
1. Draw Something with No Judgement
This is a lovely little daily activity. Simply put aside 10 minutes in your day, treat yourself to a drawing pad and a new pen (or pencil, or crayon… whatever you like) and draw something. Pick an object, a coffee cup, a tree, a car, a ceiling fan, whatever… and just draw it. Do not allow yourself to erase anything or to judge whether it is good or bad… free yourself from criticism and just go for it.
2. Learn to Draw Something Really Well
On the other hand, you may wish to try this. I have often taken on a little project like this. I once decided I was going to get really good a drawing hands. I have a whole sketchbook full of hands. I spent a summer getting good at drawing them. It was very freeing and satisfying to consciously engage in a creative project that was not overwhelming in any way, nor was it for display or accolade, it was just there to cater to a need for daily creativity.
3. Music and Musings
Put on an album. It might be your favourite album; it might be an album that is brand new to you. Listen to it from start to finish, and jot down any thoughts that float into your head as you are doing it… however odd they may or may not be!
4. Sleep On a Problem
If there is something you are trying to solve, and you just can’t seem to crack it, why not release yourself from the tension and frustration this creates, and leave it to your subconscious creativity? I often find that if I sleep on a problem and get up in good time the next day (as opposed to staying up late getting stressed) my subconscious creativity solves the issue for me and allows me to complete the task in half the time, and with half the stress, that it would have done the night before,
5. Kids Toys
If you have kids, you will likely have some kind of construction toy lying around. Blocks of some sort. In my case, it is Mega Blocks, in your case, it might be Lego, or Meccano… maybe Playmobil! Whatever it is, build something. Don’t build with anything in mind, just go block by block, piece by piece and see what you end up with. It is a clear way to engage in developing creativity, which helps to build big ideas from the ground upwards. It is also calming and good for well-being.
6. Change an Ingredient
Next time you are cooking… putting together a tied and tested family perhaps, why not swap out an ingredient. Trust your instincts. Have a play around. See what happens!
7. Photos On Your Way Home
Next time you walk home, take a different route. Look around and notice new things. Maybe even take a few photos to commemorate the occasion. Like many in lockdown, I visited many local roads and parks that I had not visited before, and had a lovely time discovering pretty houses I didn’t know were there.
8. Consume Media Consciously
Yes, media is something we use to switch off, to entertain us. But media is so much more than that, we can take ideas from it and use it to inform the way we think in a creative sense. Did a character in your show just deal with a similar issue to the one you are dealing with at work? How did they get around it? Could their approach ensure yours? Maybe yes, and maybe no. But now, at least, you are thinking about your problem from a different angle!
By Chris Thomson
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