Creativity is as elusive as it is coveted, making it one of the most intriguing professional qualities in demand today. There are entire award shows and magazine features dedicated to recognizing those who demonstrate this superior kind of imaginative thinking, and it is consistently deemed one of the most important “soft-skills” an employee can have. But honing this skill is no easy task.
There are plenty of articles out there that will suggest you try to “connect with your inner child” or “learn to be more open and aware,” but in reality that’s about as helpful as someone telling you to “calm down” when you’re about to flip your lid (aka pretty useless). Like anything else, developing your creative skillset requires concrete exercises and plenty of practice. To help steer you in the right direction, we’re bringing you three strategies you can utilize everyday to improve your creativity and start on your way to coming up with the next big idea.
Establish a Routine
As romantic as the notion of a “creative spark” may be, the reality is that creativity doesn’t typically come in a sudden burst of brilliance. More often, it is the result of a rather ordinary routine. Stephen King notes,“Your schedule…exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go.” Establishing a specific routine allows your mind to focus on other, more imaginative things.
Explain What You Learn
Fast Company points out that “the most creative people in any field are people who have a tremendous amount of knowledge.” Thus, staying informed and constantly learning is another important step to developing more creative perspectives. But simply reading an article here and there isn’t going to be enough to process and retain new information in a way that empowers you to be more creative. In order to come up with your own ideas from preexisting knowledge, you have to know the information more intimately.
To establish this kind of relationship with newly-learned material, try explaining the concept to someone else. This strategy is a nifty way to better retain information so it can inform new ideas down the road. You could also try recording yourself talking about a concept on your phone, then listening to it to see how well you are able to to articulate the information. If you find yourself struggling to convey your message, that may be a good indication you need to do some further research.
Set Quantitative Goals
It is essential to hold yourself accountable for your own learning and your own creativity. How do you do this? Set quantifiable goals and stick to them religiously. Perhaps you want to make an effort to read at least three news articles every day or finish a new book every other week. Maybe you want write for at least three hours every day or come up with at least five new ideas for a project every week. No matter what kind of creative endeavor you’re working on, make sure you’re putting in the time and tracking your progress to ensure you’re dedicating yourself to the creative process.
With these tips, you’ll be on your way to cranking out brilliant ideas left and right in no time. Let us know your progress by tweeting us @BIGfishPR — we’d love to hear from you!