If you want to perform at your creative best, then practice these 7 principles to keep you creatively focused.
Mind, body, and spirit are connected to what makes you creative. One impacts the other and they need to work together for you to function at your best.
I live and work with incredibly talented and creative people. As an educator I am paid to observe and break down techniques into practical skills that I can teach – these are 7 tasks you can do every day to stimulate your creativity. It works for everyone, whether you are an artist, business leader, entrepreneur, teacher, parent … all the above.
It doesn’t all come for free. It requires time (1/2 hour) and commitment. But if you don’t invest in yourself now, you will never realize what the rewards could have been.
Meditation gets your mind, body, and spirit connected.
Effectively meditation isn’t easy because your brain is so, so easily distracted. But regular practice will train your brain to focus.
How will it improve your thinking? That’s hard to explain how the results will feel; it is kind of like tying to explain a colour. Meditation helps you concentrate, makes you aware of things and people around you, and enables you to dive deeper creatively.
Best practice: meditate 10–15 minutes first thing in the morning. Concentrate on your breathing. When your mind wanders, treat the mental clutter like a dry erase board and wipe it clean, refocusing on your breathing.
(Some people like to visualize. I travel frequently and like to imagine an expansive view from above the clouds as I breath.)
Eventually – and this is a long way off for most of us – your mind accesses your subconscious, your heart and blood pressure slows way down, and you connect with a realm that many refer to as spiritual. This prayer-like state is an essential component to most main religions and is an essential teaching of Jesus and Buddha. But you don’t have to get spiritual to benefit from meditation.
2. Drink water
Drink three litres of water a day – or 12 glasses.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil for your coffee, start the day with 2 cups of water. Then two more during breakfast.
Carry a large water bottle with you during the day to drink. Refill the bottle when you get home and make sure it is empty before bed. That’s 12 glasses.
Not only does your body need water to keep from dehydrating, your brain needs it to keep your mind active.
What does this have to do with creativity? An active mind is a creative mind. Have you experienced lethargy and realized that you hadn’t drank enough water? You weren’t feeling too creative, were you?
(Afraid your going to constantly have to pee too often? Your body gets used to it, decreasing the frequency after a couple days.)
3. Learn a new skill (don’t try to perfect it)
Go to YouTube and type, “How to …. “ – fill in the blank with something you are interested in.
Choose a medium that has nothing to do with your creative trade. If you write, learn how to draw a cartoon. If you are a musician, learn how to sculpt with clay. If you are a painter, learn how to write a blog, or make a song in GarageBand, or write a speech. You get the idea.
Why do this? You have a strong creative muscle that you use all the time. You have other creativity muscles that you don’t use as often. If you learned to train these other muscles, not only would you be stronger overall, your main creative muscle would become a powerhouse because it is so well supported by your creative-whole.
Creativity isn’t isolated to one skill. It bleeds over into a other areas of life. Creative thinking in art leads to creative thinking in business. By learning new creative skills, you turn that bleed into a well-flowing river.
4. Make art for another person
Creativity does little if it isn’t shared. So give it away.
This act of generosity doesn’t have to be grand or take long to make. It could be a cartoon, drawing or painting, a letter, blog, poem, or list, a flower arrangement, or joke. It doesn’t have to be based on the creative craft you are known for. Just make something and leave it for someone without explanation.
What is the benefit of this? It gets you out of your head, gets you thinking about others, and inspires you to create for an audience.
5. Schedule creativity.
Treat your creativity like a production plan. Creativity isn’t a flippant spirit that comes and goes of its own free will. ‘The proof is in the pudding’ and you can only prove your creativity with the end result. Creativity is action that requires doing the work.
A number of authors have said a similar quote about the creative spark;
“Inspiration shows up every morning a 9am when I sit down at my desk.”
Schedule 15 undistracted minutes a day. Have something prepared to work on. When you have idea (see hack #6), this scheduled creative is used to think deeply about it, write out your idea, and set a plan to see the project trough to completion. Hopefully this concentrated time will last way more than 15 minutes.
Scheduling undistracted creative time forces you to get tasks done. If you don’t enforce the time to follow up on inspiration, time will slip away, as will the potential of your idea.
6. Embrace distractions
The best ideas come from the most unexpected places.
This is different that’s the schedule creative time when you turn inspiration into concrete outlines.
Distractions are like rabbit holes. We often think of them as time-wasters. But if you allow your mind to be in a creative state while allowing yourself to be distracted while you are online, in a book store, staring out the window, driving, in the shower, etc, you are opening up the horizon for ideas to come to you.
Distractions are good for two reasons:
A. Distractions are metaphysical air fresheners; you open the window and clear out a stale room. Distractions let the mind wander. While wandering, your subconscious continues to problem-solve. You are allowing solutions to present themselves.
B. Inspiration comes from left field. You have to wander into left field to let it happen.
Recommendation: Always keep a note book or app on your phone to write down when ideas hit.
Everyone knows this. We are told it all the time.
You need blood to course through your body and get to your brain.
Basic physics: a body at rest stays at rest. When your body moves, so doesn’t everything else, including the blood to your head – the thing that engages your creativity.
This doesn’t mean you must become a gym rat. It simply means that you need to walk, swim, stretch, push you mussels every day. When you become lethargic, you know you aren’t getting enough exercise.
This is not an exhaustive list. It is only the beginning; more hacks to come.
Meditation, water, and exercise will work for everyone. The others hacks will work better for someone people than others.
- Decide what you are going to implement from this list.
- Start your day with 10 minutes of meditation, water, and stretching.
- Schedule a coffee without your phone and work on an idea.
- Give yourself 10 minutes to look at magazines in the book store and let ideas come to you.
Creativity is addictive because you get a rush when it all comes together. But creativity takes work. The benefits will impact all areas of your life.