June 25, 2013

How To Jumpstart Your Creativity

Creativity is an asset across all professions. The ability to tackle problems with innovative solutions is crucial to any work experience.

But, while creativity is a natural trait that we all possess to some degree, it might not feel as on-demand as you would like. The good news is, you can increase your likelihood of a great brainstorm by knowing what conditions and approaches work best for you.

Check out these tips from a recent Mashable article about how to jumpstart your creativity:

1. Ditch the quiet office.
Unlike detail-oriented, analytical thinking, creativity thrives amidst moderate distraction. That’s why it’s so hard to get the creative juices flowing when you shut the door and block out all distractions. If you’re attempting to think of a creative solution, try distracting yourself by working at a café or park bench.

2. Silence the inner critic.
Whenever we churn out something out-of-the-ordinary, we open ourselves to scrutiny and criticism. In many cases, our own inner critic is the most effective at shooting things down. It’s hard to be creative when you’re constantly worried that x, y or z won’t be good enough. The inner critic tightens your mind and blocks creative flow, so find any way to silence this negative voice. For example, give yourself permission to brainstorm by automatically writing down ideas as you think of them — then worry later whether they’re any good.

3. Experiment with your work environment.
While the distractions of cafés and park benches can help inspire creativity, try to make changes in your workspace itself. For example, studies have shown that the complexity and interchanging notes of Mozart’s sonatas and other classical music can have a positive (albeit short-term) impact on spatial reasoning skills and creative thinking.

4. Sift out the busy work.
If your days, weeks and months are packed with “getting things done,” you’re not leaving any time to experiment.  Try to carve out some free time every day (even if it’s just 10-20 minutes) to step away from the computer or other obligations and let yourself think.

5. Branch out beyond your comfort zone.
If you’re experiencing a creative block, try picking up a magazine you wouldn’t normally read, have lunch with a friend in a different field or attend an event way outside your industry. Since you don’t know where an idea will come from, feel free to look anywhere and everywhere for your next source of inspiration.

[Image: Flickr user Tsahi Levent-Levi]

Tonight, June 25, we are hosting our second NYC meetup. Super inspiring visual artist Shantell Martin and poet Richard Blanco will share with us how creativity has played a role in their career journeys and self-discovery. Can’t make it? Check back on liveinthegrey.com tomorrow for a full recap!


  • Katie Cohen

    All my life I have been constantly told that being in a quiet office-like space is the been environment to be productive. Until recently, I’ve discovered that quiet environments like these often contribute to my writers block! Perhaps I’ll take my laptop to the park now!

  • Haley

    Definitely agree Katie! Creativity sparks Creativity!!

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