I have talked a little bit about this topic in the past. There is a delicate balance between inspiration vs. creation. It can be hard to create if we don’t feel inspired in some way but we don’t want to get stuck constantly in inspiration mode and not create anything out of it!
Anything we consume that inspires us can be a tool for creation. I am finding however that inspiration and the need to be inspired is addictive and it can stop us from creating. How are we able to create more in our busy hyper-connected world? We need to set up our day so that it fosters and nurtures creativity so that we are able to have tools in place for the daily creation of new, original ideas and content.
Here are eight great tools we can use every day to unlock our inner creativity:
1. Daily movement: Quite often I get ideas when I am out walking or running with my dog. I love being out in nature and getting out of the box! Children learn best when able to move around freely – it is widely researched. It is how our brain functions and learns best. Sitting still all day is a recipe for depression and early death. My daughter regularly has ‘thinking time’ and runs around the house or yard if she has been sitting still for too long, we all laugh about it but it serves as an important function for her! How amazing it is that her body tells her when she needs to move.
2. Simple living space: If your living space is cluttered and messy and there are lots of jobs to get done it can weigh negatively in your mind and take up valuable mental space. Make a plan to get any unfinished house projects sorted. Set up your workspace and home in an inspiring way, perhaps you store everything but the necessary out of sight. Surround yourself with things that inspire you and bring joy.
3. Write it all down: You want to keep your brain space free for ideas and the creation of new thought, not storing all of your ‘to do’s’! Keep all of the upcoming things you need to get done in a trusted system, either computer based or written down. I use a lot of the principles from the GTD book by David Allen. Don’t store everything in your head, write it down and get it out so that you can use your brain space for more important activities – like new ideas!!
4. Empty/unscheduled time: Create some empty space in your schedule. Sometimes you need a large chunk of unscheduled time to play around with your ideas. I have also heard of people doing ‘drive time’ – going for a drive if they need a break to think and process. Sometimes I get good ideas just from playing around on the internet!
5. Visual brainstorming: I like to do this in Trello. You can add pictures to each card to make your boards much more visual. Trello is great for big picture brainstorming. I have also used MindMeister in the past which is a great tool for online mind mapping. EVERYTHING CONNECTS TO EVERYTHING – it is good to get your ideas down and connect all of the dots! I also like the idea of creating a vision board to use in my office or yoga space to keep me feeling creatively inspired.
6. Change up your schedule: Experiment with exercising and working at different times of the day to see which times foster the most creativity. Go somewhere new for your run. Plan to do something new and exciting this weekend! Plan new, stimulating activities into your week that can make you view life in new and interesting ways.
7. Capture it: Don’t mindlessly consume! if you see anything inspiring – take notes so that you can refer back to it later. Evernote is amazing for storing all of your online notes/pictures etc. Our days are often filled with endless inspiration. If you read a new book – take notes of any interesting thoughts. If you see some exciting looking dishes on Instagram – take notes of the links or ingredients in case you want to attempt to try them in the future. Capture anything really inspiring to you so that you can later turn it into a tool for creation.
8. Distraction free time: Do you have time in your day to create without distractions? Perhaps you need to schedule some in. I like to get up super early to write. I have figured out that this is the best time for me creatively without constant distractions. Single tasking enables our brains to create much faster. When we are constantly being distracted it takes time for our brain to switch between each task.
When do you get creative ideas in your day?
(Photo: Jordan Donaldson)