Being creative? You have agencies for that, right? Well, yes – but it’s also important for you to get your head out of Powerpoint and Excel, and think outside those putty-colored corporate walls. Not only can it make a difference in your career… it’s just plain good for you. So take these quick tips to exercise your brain and get your next epiphany!
Set a time limit. Whether it’s a timer to get you through half an hour, or a deadline to deliver to your boss, tie yourself to a deadline. Sometimes, nothing works like a countdown. A sense of urgency can unlock great things.
Give yourself accountability. Tell a friend what you’re aiming for, convene a brainstorming session with your Intouch account team, or otherwise publicly acknowledge the problem that needs a creative solution. Often, our creative work can sit on the back burner. Bring it to the front and shine a light on it!
But give yourself a break. Welcome mistakes. You’re going to have a ton of bad ideas with a few good ones. Don’t beat yourself up or feel ashamed of your creativity when it gets silly or misguided! Instead, welcome the process, bad and good, and it’ll go that much more smoothly.
Be positive. Cultivate gratitude. While you’re driving your commute, or brushing your teeth, list five things for which you’re grateful. Choose new ones every day. An expansive mindset welcomes new things in – ideas included!
Build new great ideas off existing ones. Use the motto I learned years ago: “BASE: Borrow and Steal Everything.” What do you love, and how can you take it further? (Required caveat: inspiration is good. Plagiarism is bad. Know the difference.)
Get inspired. Read an author you love, and think about what you love about her work. Skip the business books. Find one that makes you think differently about creativity, like Steal Like an Artist, The War of Art, On Writing, or Letters to a Young Poet. Exceptional ideas come from unusual places.
Get quiet. Inspiration is good, but it can be overwhelming. Anyone with a shelf full of unread business books knows this feeling. Sometimes, you don’t need more advice. You might need the opposite. Let yourself sit still with silence. Peoplewatch. Look at the clouds. Give your thoughts the space to do some work instead of constantly prodding them along.
Start a daily practice. Meditate with an app like Headspace. Walk around the block every evening. Sing opera. Whatever you find helps to focus and to move you: writing, drawing, playing, whatever. Find something that connects for you, and then do it daily, not just when you’re especially motivated. Good habits are important, building structure for your thoughts to flourish in.
Let yourself consider what really needs doing. Sometimes the answer to “what should I be doing?” may not be “exactly what my boss thinks needs to be done.” Stay on track, of course – but let yourself be brave enough to consider that there might be new paths you can blaze to achieve your goals!
Think about something else. If you’re trying to force yourself to come up with a brilliant new idea to reach your HCPs – and you think about that, and only that – you may actually be squashing your creative impulses. Define “creativity” a little more broadly. Maybe you’ll come up with a more efficient way to run team meetings, or a clever headline for your next newsletter article. You’re making improvements, and flexing your creative muscles – so when that big idea comes, it’ll be even better!