Last week I wrote about How to Make Time for Creativity. While that is all fine and dandy, what do we do after we have made time for creativity?
Let’s take a look at a couple of ways we can stir up the creative pot by stretching ourselves and practicing the lost art of writing things down.
1. Get outside of your bubble! Try a new workspace!
Are there certain places you feel more creative than others? Is it a certain coffee shop that gets your creative juices flowing? Maybe for you, it’s at the local park, people watching, or a nice café downtown.
Sometimes we need to simply break away from our routine and try something different. Different for me comes in the form of heading down to the local coffee shop where I feel I achieve maximum productivity. Why, you ask? Because for me, my little bubble of a workspace is my apartment. I feel comfortable here. I know this space. While having a normal place to work is good for consistency, it can also become monotonous and mundane. Venture out somewhere new and unknown. It just might be what sparks your next idea.
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” Erich Fromm
According to a study published in The Journal of Consumer Research, “moderate background noise can increase creativity. The ideal volume? About 70 decibels worth of conversations, acoustic music and whirring espresso machinery.”
Another study by three University of Illinois professors last year found that “[A] moderate … level of ambient noise induces processing disfluency, which leads to abstract cognition and consequently enhances creativity.”
Maybe that coffee shop you have wanted to check out has just the right amount of ambient noise that will inspire your next creative idea or project.
What new space will you find this week?
2. Write it down!
Grab a pencil, some paper, and write it down.
How many times have you had a great idea but did not write it down? Let’s just say I have done that more times than I can possibly count. Like I am sure many of you have experienced, I feel some of my best ideas come to me as I am lying in bed attempting to go to sleep. I say to myself, “Oh, I am too tired to write this down. I will for sure remember it in the morning.” That could not be more further from the truth.
Dustin Wax, project manager for LifeHack.org, claims, “When we write something down, research suggests that as far as our brain is concerned, it is as if we were doing that thing.” Writing down your ideas not only gives your brain an opportunity to visualize the idea but this is also where the term “quality over quantity” can come into play. Writing down multiple ideas frees your brain up from having to remember so much information. You are then able to dedicate time to each individual idea and cultivate that idea into something greater.
“When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.” Michael LeBoeuf
How will you break out of your bubble this week? How will you make an effort to write down your ideas?
Adam Smith says
A great reminder for us to jot everything down. I’m with you. All my ideas come when I am about to go asleep. I keep my phone beside me at all times for that reason. I tend to forget if I don’t.
Vincent Russell says
I’m the same way. I keep my phone right beside my bed. My struggle is even picking my phone up to type in my notes because I’m so tired. I’ve recently broken away from that and have been able to write down my ideas and it’s been so refreshing knowing that I have those ideas stored and not forgotten.
Leo J. Lampinen says
The main takeaway of David Allan’s “Getting Things Done” is to get everything written down because the brain is designed for creating and not for storage. I’ve been doing that ever since reading it, and I choose pen and paper. To me, it’s just quicker.
There’s a neat website at http://coffitivity.com that lets you play a background noise that mimics the ambient noise of a coffee shop. I’ve used it several times while writing. I like that there is no vocals as there would be with some music to distract from your thoughts.
Vincent Russell says
I would much rather do pen and paper, but I’m not always around those. I always have my iPhone on me, so that works for me. We just have to do whatever works for us. Just as long as we’re doing it. 🙂
Leo, thanks for sharing this website with us. I, too, like how there are no vocals. That would get my mind distracted very easily.
Great post! I have had the fortune of recently moving offices into a coworking space. We have a dedicated office that is just ours so I can get some peace and quiet, but the rest of the building is conference rooms with different decor and themes, a coffee shop, and tons of different work spaces to choose from. I love the option of having so many different environments to work from and change things up. And it encourages me to get up and walk around from time to time and stir up my brain which didn’t happen when I sat at my old desk for 8 hours straight. Love your ideas here!
Vincent Russell says
Thank you, sir! It seems like you’ve got a nice new set up. There’s a coworking space in downtown Dallas called Weld Spaces that, I believe, has a somewhat similar set up as what you’re referring to. From what I hear, everyone enjoys working there a lot.