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Boost your creativity, be more productive

Boost your creativity, be more productive

We’re all constantly chasing productivity. Micro organising our lives so that every single second counts, downloading apps to make our lives easier, writing lists, hitting targets and setting reminders so that our lives run like well-oiled machines. Time means money in business, so on paper, creativity is the enemy to efficiency.

Creativity means spontaneity, chaos, experimentation and relaxation. It requires you to sit back and observe the race, rather than constantly trying to win it. For me though, creativity is crucial to success. Here are five easy ways to boost your creativity and be more productive in the workplace:

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1. Clear your head

There’s no set formula for this. Everyone’s mind is different so it needs different treatment. I like to surf or meditate. Getting out of the office for even ten minutes a day can give you the space you need to readjust and find a new perspective. If you can’t escape, meditation is great because you can do it anywhere. Like anything, it takes practise and you have to be strict with it, but if all you take from it is a break from looking at your emails, you will still have benefitted. The clearer your head is the easier you’ll find it to think creatively and focus. It will put you in a better mood for the rest of the day and increase your ability to make decisions.

2. Concentrate on your happiness

Happier people make better employees. It’s a fact. When you’re feeling more positive about a task, you’re usually more dedicated and imaginative in your approach. Of course, there’s no easy answer to being happy, but it should be one of your top priorities. Set time aside every day to do something you love, whether that’s running, reading a book, spending time with your family or watching TV. Make your work fun when you can and never take yourself too seriously.

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3. Be lazy

Working without taking breaks is dangerous to your physical wellbeing, but it also affects the way you think. As the day drags on you loose enthusiasm and passion for what you’re doing, get confused, frustrated and usually end up completing very little. Free time is the fuel for productivity and creativity. It doesn’t really matter what you do with it, but you have to completely switch off to properly replenish your brain’s motivation. That means no emails, no smart phones and no tablets. On holiday, I swap my iPhone for an old Nokia to make sure I’m not even tempted to check my inbox, but it means that my office could still reach me in an emergency.

4. Brainstorm, talk and read

Exchanging ideas with colleagues and friends opens up new perspectives and elevates your work to a new level. Talk and listen to everyone you can; read articles, books, blogs or even comics, anything that will inspire you and alter your perspectives. I recommend joining a business group or finding a mentor so that you can focus your discussions and gain advice from people you admire; remember that it’s just as important to talk non-business and let your brain be consumed by something else for a while.

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5. Think about your space

Whether you like it or not, your office is a place you’re going to be a lot. It could be a desk, a room in a high rise building or your kitchen, wherever it is, make it a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. I work at a standing up desk, which makes me feel more energetic and dynamic, especially when I’m on sales calls, but it could be as simple as putting a framed picture of your family on your desk or a potted plant.

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Ricketts via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Richard Walton

Founder of AVirtual

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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