5 Ways to Become More Creative

5 Ways to Become More Creative
 

One of the common misconceptions is that creativity is an innate talent, something pre-determined in our genes. While indeed some individuals you meet are very creative in their approaches to life and work, or expressive in their ideas, chances are if you look at their background and listen to their backstory, there were probably environmental factors that have cultivated their creativity. Which is why it’s common to find a family of singers, or prominent artists graduating from specific schools, or even some countries in the world (Canada, Sweden and New Zealand rank high in the Global Creativity Index.
 
Now, while growing up, you may not have the right environment to nurture your creativity, or perhaps have not the privilege to be exposed to the communities or network, but there is more than one way to increase your creativity. As a matter of fact, today, we are going to talk about five different ways that are proven to help many become more creative.
 

#1. Turn of The Computer

One of the biggest killers of creativity is multitasking and the modern computer encourages that. Let’s face it, how often do you have a bunch of programs loaded at the same time, or even multiple tabs in your browser? Many times, creativity comes from a state of “flow”, and multitasking slows down your ability to enter that state because of the Law of Context Switching (we will write a full article on this, so stay tuned).
 
Ok, here’s a teaser on Context Switching: Statistics show that it takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted.
 
And yes, while you may argue that switching between tasks is intentional, to the mind, it is still considered an interruption to the flow state.
 
On that note, perhaps we should include all smart devices, eh?
 

#2. Back to Basics

So you’d ask me, if I don’t use the computer, how am I going to map out my thoughts?
 
Draft. Draw. Mind Map. Sketch with colour pencils/crayons on a large blank sheet of paper.
 
Once you’re off the constant interruptions and distractions of modern smart devices (another benefit of switching them off) and faced with a blank piece of paper, start by writing down your main thought at the top of the paper, or as the techniques of mind mapping would suggest, right in the middle. Expand the thought with words, phrases, symbols, lines, drawings and more.
 
And remember to pen down all that pop up in your mind. When it comes to creativity, there are no wrong or stupid ideas. Most creatives would tell you behind every success they have, there’s a trail of failures and mistakes.
 

#3. Doodle

Slightly similar to tip #2, doodling is where you just grab a pencil or pen, while you’re listening or watching to some content, preferably something thought-provoking. TED talks, inspirational stories, or even technical presentations are a good start.
 
Observe as your hand starts moving, and just let it flow on its own. After a while, take a hard look at what you’ve doodled. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, other times it could be just a black shape! However, the process of doodling frees your mind unconsciously, because as much as it’s essential for your mind to take in information (most of the time unconsciously), it’s good to have a way to release it too.
 
And doodling does just that.
 

#4. Listen to Baroque Music

Music composed during the Baroque period (1600 - 1750), namely by musicians like Bach, Pachelbel and Vivaldi, are known to help improve your mental state. As a matter of fact, music from that era is prescribed for kids who are suffering from ADD or hyperactivity, because it’s proven to help them focus better.
 
As magical as it sounds, researchers discovered it’s the rhythm and beat of the music that helps "sync" the mind, bringing it down and aligning it to a calm state where creativity can take place naturally. Some even used them to help improve their sleep!
 

#5. Take a 20-minute walk every day

A wise man once said, "walking allows the mind to catch up to distance traveled by the body". No surprises though, because if you talk to any creative people you know, hidden in their daily routine, involves some form of physical activity. And what is simpler than a morning or evening stroll?
 
Some credit the change of environment, a switch in their focus or just dissociating themselves from their work problems that ultimately gave them the “eureka” moment.
 
It’s also during these instances where “out-of-the-box” solutions came to mind. I once heard an account of how Ritz-Carlton (one of the highest rating 5-Star Hotels in the world) got ideas to improve their operational and service excellence by watching the efficiency and communication prowess of the pitstop crew during F1 races. This goes to show that sometimes the best creative ideas come from outside the industry.
 

Conclusion

 
At this point, you may be tempted to try all of these five methods to improve your creativity, which is good. My recommendation? Try one at a time, because when introducing any habits, taking it one step at a time is better. Not only will it help you evaluate the effectiveness of each method, but also allow time for you to assimilate the habit into your daily routine.
 
Do you have a method that has helped you become more creative? Do reply to this email and share it with us. Who knows? We may feature your hack in the next blog post on creativity enhancement (yes, there are a couple of more techniques our team is experimenting on).