“Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do,
long after the mood you said it in has left you.”
– Daren Hardy
1. Always have a notepad and pen by your side.
And I don’t mean your smart phone. I mean a physical pad and pen. There’s something about holding the pen and freely writing that makes your brain switch on and acts as an ancor back to when mini-you was writing in primary school. Back to that little creative child that we all start out as before the smart phone came along and blocked the creative juices. As soon as an idea pops into your head, write it down. You don’t need to turn it into an action-plan or even understand it there and then. But in a few months or a year’s time when you read the list back it will all come together.
2. Spend time with creative or inspirational people.
Creativity doesn’t occur on the level of thought. Creativity occurs on the level of inspiration. When you’re around somebody creative, or who inspires you to keep thinking, researching and smiling, you’ll keep that inventive headspace going. Fellow creatives are great to bounce ideas off of.
3. Stay in the know.
Nothing squashes creativity more than feeling lost, overwhelmed or inadequate in your field. It’s important to stay up to date with what your customers are wanting and what your products or services offer. We’re all in changing industries so make sure your product line is stocking the latest and greatest of that item or that you know all about the recent trends. Take a short course if you have to. A few hours or months out of your time now will pick up your confidence and knowledge in a short timeframe to get you back on the creative path. Even if you have to hire a contractor to help you provide what your competitors are providing – do it!
4. Listen and accept.
In society, it’s shameful that we hear critisism in every little thing. We’ve been brought up that way so just remember that jumping to conclusions on a person’s idea of your business is not going to keep your creativity or confidence up. Laugh at your ego and turn around any suggestions or uncomfortable comments from customers or friends into great new ideas for change. Stay open to criticism or suggestions and hey… why not try them? Nobody says that you need to stay that way if it doesn’t work for you. But just give new things a try. Every time you step outside your little comfort zone’s circle, you create a bigger circle to live in.
5. Keep your workspace tidy and inspirational.
Clutter is distracting and energy draining. Get rid of it. It’s a standard feng shui rule. Additionally fill your workspace with imagery and words that inspire you, even if they have nothing to do with your industry. If you can’t do this then just dedicate one little pin-board on your wall to cutouts of things that you love. Make sure to look at it when you’re feeling tired.
6. Refresh your eyes.
This isn’t always possible since most of the time as a business we are tied to deadlines, but if you begin to feel overwhelmed by something, even 5-10 minutes away from it can refresh your eyes to come back to it with a new outlook. Better yet, sleep on it and then return the next day to go over it again before handing it to your client.
7. Work somewhere new.
If you’re able, move your work to a brand new place every now and then. Visit a park, a coffee house, a lookout with a nice view, a friend’s house. If you can’t move somewhere entirely new then change your current location. Dim the lights, rearrange the furniture, swap desks with a colleague. Whatever you’re doing, just make sure you change it up somehow every now and then.
8. Get away from the computer.
Read and write on a notepad for a while if you can. Just to mix it up! Or research using a book rather than Google.
9. Take breaks.
You’ve heard this before and you don’t have time to take breaks. That’s not true though. It’s proven that if you take just 10 minutes ever hour, your brain stays more active and alert therefore getting you through your workload between breaks quicker. True story.
10. Keep the radio or a favourite play list on in the background.
When your brain is listing to subtle background noise, it stays alert easier.
11. Show off why you’re doing this.
Every time a client says something nice, write it down and pin it on your wall – go back and read them when you’re feeling stressed for a quick confidence booster.
12. Drink plenty of water and eat right.
This one’s just simple science. Your brain needs these things to stay alert! Some great creative snacks are walnuts, almonds, banana, peanut butter, wholegrain crackers with tuna, greek yogurt with blueberries and green tea.
13. Socialise with the competition.
Join a collaboration/group/forum of people in the same industry who back each other up.
14. Start an ‘appreciation diary’.
This is a daily favourite of mine. Every night, I write down anything I can think of that I am grateful of for that day. It can be something as small as the sun being out that day. So long as you find something. Once you get used to it, you won’t be able to stop writing. It’s great to help you practice turning stressful situations into positive ones; for example: “I lost all my emails today which made me open an online backup account so future me never has to worry about this happening again – one less thing to worry about in my life!” Once you start focusing on the positive of every day then your confidence is boosted and your mind is constantly looking for new ways to smile. This keeps you creative.
15. Hire professionals.
You may think this is the opposite of being creative because you’re passing tasks to somebody else, but it’s actually a great tool to keep your ideas flowing and evolving. When you come up with an idea, write it down then have an expert bring it to life for you, such as a photographer, a copyrighter, an illustrator, a code developer, a graphic designer, a poet, a promotional printer, a social media expert. When you see your idea brought to life professionally then it’ll give you inspiration to keep thinking of new ideas. If you try to bring it to life yourself in an area that you don’t know, then realistically you may become disappointed with the results and give up.
16. Do something you’re proud of.
Do one thing that you’re good at every day to keep up your sense of achievement. It may be a diffcult yoga posture or weight lifting, a sodoku, drawing a quick sketch, learning a new note/chord on your instrument, reading a chapter of a book you’re enjoying. Whatever your hobby is – take 5 minutes or more to complete a small part of it to make yourself smile and impressed.
17. Do something nice for a fellow life.
Who says it needs to be a human? Next time you see a creature in your home, pop him in the garden. Being creative is all about feeling good. Feeling good brings confidence, inspiration and a skies-the-limit attitude.
18. Research your compeittion and see what they’re up to.
There’s nothing like a little compeition to get your head back into gear. Don’t feel dismayed if you find something that you think they’re doing better. Go out there and you do it too! That means hire an expert to help, or sit on your own in a park and make a step forward. Nobody says you need to make it happen there and then, but if you make a start now you can always come back to it again with fresh eyes tomorrow.
19. Make sure you’re working in an industry that you love.
When it comes down to it. Every person is creative. At the crux of it though, we’re just plain not interested in something that we’re not interested in – and that’s ok! That’s the beauty of us all being different, there will always be somebody else who can do and love a job that you don’t. Forcing yourself to do something that you’re not genuinely interesting in every day will make your natural talents stale. If you really can’t focus and create then take the leap and move on.
20. Call Ethically Creative.
We are creative consultants so you can run ideas past us whenever you like. Even if you haven’t spent much time thinking about the ins-and-outs of your idea, it’s important to refer back to item 2 on this list and surround yourself with creative people to bounce ideas off of.