As entrepreneurs, it can be a real challenge to find space both practically and mentally for creativity or big picture thinking. Check out these highly actionable practices to help guarantee that you are regularly accessing and nurturing your creativity so that your business keeps growing and innovating.
Sarah Phillips is a Co-Founder of Well & Truly Workshops, a sister-led company facilitating unique wellness-infused strategy and creative workshops in London, UK and remotely. Throughout COVID-19, Well & Truly have also delivered transformative wellbeing and productivity trainings for companies working from home. Sarah talks us through some daily practices you can do that will ensure a boost creativity and innovation.
Take charge of your inspiration
We all know the feeling. The seemingly endless blank space that is an uninspired mind. People usually relate to inspiration as something they passively receive, as opposed to something they can actively cultivate.
In order to take charge of inspiration, there are a few very simple and effective practices to try out. Whether it’s by regularly changing setting (granted, this is more difficult with lockdown), by scheduling in time to sit and read fiction or by going for a brisk walk, it is possible to actively spark inspiration instead of sitting around waiting for it to strike.
Reduce digital distraction to allow room for deep focus
One of the biggest barriers to productivity and creativity is digital distraction. Especially for entrepreneurs who wear every hat in their business, it can feel unfathomable to be unresponsive on email/social media.
However, this is crucial to be able to reach a state of deep focus. It takes around 20 minutes to arrive in a state of deep focus so if concentration is constantly being broken to check a notification, it’s impossible to ever reach that state. Schedule in time daily where email notifications are off and phones are out of sight. To take it one step further, try getting away from screens altogether and using good old fashioned pen and paper for a brainstorm.
Create a joy routine
It’s difficult to get excited about new ideas in business if someone’s feeling flat in their personal life. If that’s the case, try creating a joy routine!
It can feel a little odd at first, but the impact on both mood and creativity is incredible. In order to create a joy routine, simply jot down a list of the activities that make you feel happy and carefree. Then take a moment to consider where your energy goes when you’re feeling low? Are you lethargic or scattered? Taking this into account, create a routine from activities you enjoy which would balance out your mood and bring you into a happier (more innovative!) frame of mind.
Implement more structure so you have space to flow
Often structure is seen to be the antithesis of creativity. However, two major impediments to creativity are poor time management and decision fatigue.
Try time boxing (a technique by which you turn your to-do list into a detailed schedule for yourself) which blocks out ample time for creativity while also ensuring essential tasks are taken care of. This can firstly feel very liberating to have already decided when everything is happening during a day, thus freeing up some mental energy for those creativity sessions and making sure there’s total permission to be present and focused during that time. Secondly and simply, often if we don’t schedule something in, it doesn’t happen. In the case of creativity, it’s easy to expect it to magically happen in the spaces between more concrete tasks, but this is rarely the case in practice.
Allow yourself to be bored
FInally, and very importantly, boredom isn’t something to avoid. In fact, it’s something to invite warmly into your daily routine.
When we’re bored, our brains actively search for something to entertain us, and this is often when we have ‘big next step’ ideas. Leave a child with no screen and no instructions, just a few toys or objects to play with and watch what happens. Through their will not to be bored, they create universes and stories from their imagination. That same natural innovativeness can be harnessed as adults. Implementing boredom as a practice can look like simply laying on the couch with nothing to entertain you. Alternatively, try a mediation practice based on simply observing the mind without judgement.
Combining some or all of these practices will guarantee a huge shift in both the mindset around creativity and creative output itself.