Never mind going to the gym, how about some exercises to shake up your usual way of thinking?!
A great way to boost your creativity at work is to practise performing the most common and mundane of tasks in really unconventional ways. You get the same result, you just go about it in a more random fashion. Random is good because it creates new neural pathways in the brain and, as we all know, the brain is plastic and, therefore, as pliable as we want it to be. The more you get it to move and morph in your thinking, the more adaptable and versatile you can become as a person.
Try these tips to maximise your creativity at work:
Become an expert – securing a solid knowledge base on various topics will allow you to connect seemingly random or remote ideas so that you’re able to see their relevance to all sorts of problems.
Simply observe – when coming up with a new product or service, quietly notice how people use what is currently available to them and the problems they may be facing.
Know your audience – walk in the shoes of the intended consumer. How would a child use a remote control? How would an elderly person access a voting booth? How would I make breakfast for a vegan?
Move out of your comfort zone – look for activities outside your field of expertise. You don’t have to terrify yourself with a sky-dive, but you could learn a new language, read a book, travel somewhere new, or just take a different route to work, anything to get used to scaring yourself a little every day.
Be willing to work alone – group brainstorming can help you synthesise your ideas, but it’s far more effective to start the creative process on your own. Start messing with the Crayola, Lego and Play-Doh in the kid’s toy box and see where your thoughts take you on your own journey of self-discovery!
Talk to outsiders about your work – a novel perspective can help you find alternative solutions or even possible faults with your original idea when you’re introduced to new ways of seeing things.
Consider your mood – being in the right mood allows us to make remote associations. Upbeat music certainly helps when it comes to having fun, but it also makes tasks that require real focus much more difficult to achieve. Believe it or not, if you dampen your demeanour with a sad song, you’ll find it easier to concentrate!
Let your mind wander – having a nap (as opposed to sleeping on the job!) and daydreaming gives access to your subconscious mind, allowing it to work on your problems completely outside of your awareness, which is much more effective than when you force yourself to work on them consciously.
Challenge yourself – disrupt your daily routine and abandon your initial idea completely (even if it works!) and look for a new one. Borrow from other people’s notions and answers and then see if you can improve on them.
Take a break – the old adage from the KitKat advert said it all in relaying the benefits of occupying your mind with a different task. From simply getting out of your seat to make a cuppa when frustration kicks in, to spring cleaning the entire house when that horrendous report has you confounded, will unleash truly novel solutions. Giving your amazing brain the space and opportunity to find the answers for you while doing something else is the smartest way to work. When you do go back to the job in hand, you’ll be totally bewildered as to why you couldn’t see the solution earlier!??!