Have you ever wrestled with a problem longer than you would have liked, only to come up with a solution that was barely adequate and definitely not worth the time spent?
Have you ever felt like you’re just doing the same thing day in and day out without any new ideas about how to improve your work?
Creativity is the #1 sought-after skill for the 21st century. Most people don’t think they are creative enough–or at all.
All humans are capable of creativity, but it needs to be fostered. Becoming more creative leads to innovations that improve our organizations and can also lead to individual success and happiness.
Keep reading to discover 7 habits you can implement to set the environment for your creative mind to flourish.
7 Habits of Highly Creative People
Time is tight for all of us. So, any new habits we add to our already-packed routine need to be things that help us improve in more than one area of our lives. These 7 habits were selected with that concept in mind.
You’ll notice that they all do help you in more ways than just setting the groundwork for creativity, such as improving overall health or infusing your life with more joy.
1) Spend more of your free time creating, rather than consuming.
Consuming activities include reading, watching TV, and scrolling through social media. Although they can spur ideas if your intention is to use them for that purpose, most people engage in these activities to escape from their problems, not to generate solutions to those problems.
Creation activities are things such as singing, dancing, drawing, and telling stories. They get the right hemisphere of your brain involved, which is where new ideas and new connections originate.
2) Take a walk outside.
A study by a Stanford psychologist showed a 60% increase in creativity when subjects walked instead of just sitting at a desk (Stanford News, https://news.stanford.edu/2014/04/24/walking-vs-sitting-042414/). In addition to elevating your mood, walking enables you to see things from another viewpoint – both literally and figuratively.
3) Go places that trigger the right side of the brain.
Although they fall into the category of consuming rather than creating, going to a museum, the theater, or a concert all expose you to things you don’t see on a daily basis and provide creative fodder for the mind.
4) Establish a daily meditation practice.
The easiest way to fit this into a hectic schedule is to get up 10-20 minutes earlier and spend that time sitting in silence. Notice as your thoughts drift and gently bring them back to the silence.
Doing this repeatedly during a meditation session calms and quiets the busy brain and opens space for creative thoughts throughout the rest of the day. You’re training the brain to pause before reacting impulsively as issues come up throughout your day.
Doodling qualifies as one of those creation activities mentioned above. J. Andrade’s study conducted at the University of Plymouth concluded that doodling, as well as other types of art and sketching, increased the understanding and comprehension of problems and helped the test subjects to be more creative (How Doodling Improves Creativity, https://medium.com/multiplier-magazine/how-doodling-improves-creativity-aa718c1aab7c).
To learn more about doodling, check out The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brow.
6) Sleep at least 8 hours per night.
Research in Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker makes a strong case for the many benefits of sleep, one of which is enhanced creativity.
If you’re regularly short on shuteye, I highly recommend reading this book.
7) Take short breaks throughout the day.
Short, 5-10 minute breaks throughout your day serve to refresh and relax and overall make your day more joyous. A relaxed, happy brain is a creative one.
Don’t try to integrate all 7 habits at once, as it’s likely to lead to overwhelm, frustration, and ultimately no new habits at all.
Instead, select one and spend some time figuring out how you’ll integrate it into your life. You’ve got to have a specific plan, or it’ll never work into your schedule.
For great information on building habits, check out Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Once you pick the habit, tell us about it in a comment below. Publicly committing to a new habit increases the odds you’ll follow through!
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