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The value of creativity, at work and in life, cannot be overstated. Much has been written about how to think more effectively, for example, but what about those creative experiences we learn so much about as children? Can they help us at work?
I recently discovered that the answer is yes: creative experiences can help you run your business better. In fact, I was recently at an art museum and read about the lives of legendary artists, which taught me new ideas about how to manage the people I work with more effectively. When we immerse ourselves in interesting and creative worlds, new ideas are inevitable. So next time you’re feeling a little stuck at work or just want to bring some beauty into your life, try one of these tactics to indulge your creative side.
Related: 5 ways to unleash your entrepreneurial creativity
1. Go to a museum during your lunch break
Take an hour or two if you can to surround yourself with incredible art, music, and archeology (or even air and space artifacts). Museums are full of awe-inspiring innovations throughout history, so they can be a perfect way to get yourself into an innovative spirit when you return to your desk. Surrounding yourself with the work of the best creators and thinkers from different eras and backgrounds is also helpful in seeing the world from other perspectives. Bringing this mindset back to the office can make you a stronger leader and team member.
2. Listen to new music
Listening to music is a helpful way to relax, which can boost creativity. But if you’re listening to the same Taylor Swift album for the fifteenth time, you’re probably not expanding your creative horizons all that much.
Drop a new album by an artist you’ve never heard of and see where it takes you. Try a totally different musical style from the one you usually listen to. Ask any music app you use to generate a shuffle playlist. You might be surprised at the different musical landscapes you’ll discover, and even what you might learn from the change.
3. Try an art project
There are a range of art projects you can do without even leaving your desk. Many of them will force you to think about problem solving differently than you are used to at work. Whether you’re making origami flowers that require precise folding skills or perfecting an extremely detailed page in an adult coloring book, creating something and solving problems with your own hands is sure to help you think differently. . As a bonus, it’s also a good way to release your nervous energy, change your routine, and combat the boredom or monotony you might feel staring at a computer all day.
Related: 8 non-work related activities that increase productivity
4. Change your workspace
Whether you do it with a simple spring cleaning or a total redecoration, changing things up is sure to get the creative juices flowing. Although a major change like a new paint job or a new office can end up costing you a lot of time and money, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big change. From moving your desk across the room to hanging a fun poster on the wall, there are lots of little things you can do to reclaim your space.
5. Spend time talking to someone you haven’t seen in a while
Reuniting with an old friend can be a refreshing and enjoyable change of pace. Even better, it might just spark your creativity by presenting (or reminding you of) a perspective you hadn’t considered, whether on a work or life issue. This can be especially true if you reunite with a former colleague from a previous role or a close friend who has known different “versions” of you.
6. Try writing
It’s no secret that writing is one of the best mechanisms you have for spreading ideas. We also write things down when we want to remember or remember them. It helps us process information and articulate what we’re thinking, whether it’s about ourselves or others. Taking a few minutes out of the workday to write can help you get the thoughts and concepts you’ve been thinking out of your mind and onto paper. Bonus points if you can come up with a fictional story to really get the creative juices flowing.
Related: Remote work anxiety is real. Here’s how to help employees who have it.
7. Cook something new
New recipes require a combination of improvisation and precision and can really force you to tap into your creativity, especially if the constraints of your grocery store or kitchen require you to think outside the box. What’s even better is that you can eat your creation when you’re done, which will tantalize your taste buds and show that you’re capable of making something delicious.
8. Practice your improvisation skills with your colleagues
Many companies organize improv sessions that encourage creativity and teamwork. Improv may seem like silly theater games at first, but it can actually become a valuable exercise in both collaboration and thinking on your feet.
In improvisation, your mission is to expand on what another person is saying or doing, often in the funniest and most original way possible. Practicing this skill can open your entrepreneurial mind to radical ideas and show you and other team members how to develop ideas together. It can also help more introverted workers feel encouraged to speak up.
9. Get your hands dirty
It might not be so easy to do at your desk, but with so many people working remotely now, it’s a great time to get a little dirty in the middle of the workday. This can present itself in different ways. Take an extended break to fix your car, bake a cake, or play with clay. I know an executive who gardens at different times of the day. These things can put you in touch with the physicality of your surroundings, which can give you a feeling of freshness that you’ll love when you return to your computer screen.
Related: 9 easy ways to transform your morning routine and boost your productivity