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5 Steps to Get Creative Again

5 Steps to Get Creative Again

Each of us has a ‘creative bone’ in our body, even the ones who insist that they don’t. The only problem is that we rarely find time to tap into our creativity. Even when we finally make a decision of making time for something creative, it’s hard to determine what to start with! There are so many possibilities, so many classes available in any community. What do we start off with?

Here are 5 steps to get creative again:

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1. Practice awareness of your stream of consciousness.

Make a point of spending 15 minutes a day to write/type everything that is going through your mind. It sounds easy, but once you try it out, you’ll find that sometimes your stream of thoughts is not singular. Maybe there are 5 of those streams flowing at the same time. It is up to you to focus on one of them or to switch back and forth between several of them.

Do not hesitate to write nonsense or ‘empty’ sentences such as “My pencil is purple, I can’t wait to eat pizza for lunch and I have no idea why I started writing this.” This is totally acceptable. You are not aiming to publish it in New York Times. This is just an exercise that will help you tune into the thoughts that you are having in the ‘background’.

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2. Make a list of the most prominent ideas/thoughts that came up in your writing.

It can be embarrassing to re-read all the stuff that you spilled on paper/screen in the previous week, but remember that this is for your eyes ONLY. No one will ever see it except you, and right now your job is to find patterns, or a lack of them, in your writing. What themes/topics/ideas came up in your writing most often? If nothing came up more than once, take note of that too. Then create a separate file and record the ideas/thoughts that you found funny, interesting or just odd. In other words, see what caught your eye or what surfaced in your writing more than once.

For example, when I was working through this exercise, I noticed that I wrote about my emotions, memories of friends and family. I also noticed that topics related to sports and painting/photography came up very often as well.

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3. Pick 3 ideas/topics/activities from the list that you made and dedicate at least 15 minutes to one of these activities over the course of the next few weeks.

This is simply to make sure that you REALLY enjoy the activity/idea that you were thinking of. For example, once upon a time, a friend of mine thought that her new ‘calling’ was rope walking. After I convinced her to go to a local park to practice it for only 15 minutes with the people who often practiced rope walking, she quickly realized that it’s not her ‘thing’ simply because she found the activity a bit repetitive. Of course, this was not an objective opinion, but it was HER opinion – and that’s all that matters for the creativity recovery project. Embracing your tastes, strengths and weaknesses is the key here.

4. Take a one-time class or spend a whole afternoon working on an activity/mini project of your choice.

Many people think that as soon as they ‘discovered’ a talent in something – let’s say in art – they need to spend a fortune and a ton of time to practice it. Taking a one-time class or just thinking of a mini project that takes several hours is quite enough to get started.

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5. Set a measurable goal: prepare to showcase your work/skills/ideas – motivate and inspire others!

Scheduling time slots for ‘creative time’ simply won’t work because ‘work time’ always tends to invade the ‘creative time’. Instead, pick a clear goal to work towards. Is your local library hosting a mini art exhibit? Are there any writers’ clubs in your area that host fee mic nights? Is there a fund-raising 5K run/walk taking place in your community? Small events are great for ‘showing off’ a skill that you acquired, to voice the ideas that you’ve been thinking of and to motivate others to do the same. Your first speech at Toastmasters might not move others to tears, and you might end up being the last one at the finish line of your first 5K run, but working towards a clear measurable goal will be a lot easier than endlessly trying to make your creation ‘perfect’. You have your entire life to perfect your skills. Showcasing your progress will not only serve as a motivation to you, but will also inspire others.

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Mariya Boyko

Mathematics teacher, curriculum developer

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Overcome Boredom

How to Overcome Boredom

Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

What is Boredom?

We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

1. Get Focused

Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
  • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
  • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

2. Kill Procrastination

Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do some exercise.
  • Read a book.
  • Learn something new.
  • Call a friend.
  • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
  • Do a spring cleaning.
  • Wash the car.
  • Renovate the house.
  • Re-arrange the furniture.
  • Write your shopping list.
  • Water the plants.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Sort out your mail & email.
  • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

3. Enjoy Boredom

If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

Reference

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