Creativity is more than just art, it's how we think. A large part of my work these days is generating product ideas for my online store. It's fun and lets me flex my more silly side. But if I had a dollar for every person who said, "I'd love to do make products but I'm not creative," I'd be writing this post from a private jet.
You come up with creative ideas all day long. Some are so small or so routine that you don't think of them as creative, like what to put on a sandwich or the alternate route out of a traffic jam. There are a few things I do when I need to flex my creative muscle, but to get into the habit of thinking creatively, you need a daily practice. Here are three daily habits that will sharpen your creative thinking in just 15 minutes.
1. Put time aside to write.
Dedicate a set amount every morning to writing. Make it timed (15 minutes) or an amount (three journal pages). Write about anything or nothing. Typing probably feels more natural, but a study by Developmental Neuropsychology, showed that writing and typing engage different parts of your brain concluding that "printing, cursive writing, and typing on a keyboard are all associated with distinct and separate brain patterns". If you're about to spend 10-12 hours in front of screens, write by hand for maximum benefit.
2. Turn off noisy chatter and meditate.
The practice of focusing on nothing helps relax your brain (and body!). We are on the go all day long. A short, intentional pause gives you permission to stop, even if it's only five minutes. Free from distractions and visual stimuli, your mind can wander and make room for creative ideas to come to the surface.
"Just breathe." says Career Coach, Roswitha Herman who helps business owners balance work life. "We get so wrapped up in our musts and shoulds that we forget to oxygenate properly by taking a few deep breaths throughout the day. Everytime you find yourself with no solution in sight, stop and inhale as you count to four, hold the air in for four seconds and then breathe it out while counting to six. Do this routine a few times, when needed." Get started by setting a reminder on your calendar for five minutes every day.
3. Play brain games to get your wheels turning.
Brain teasers are thought to help with mental acuity and stave off aging. But logic puzzles also get your brain thinking in other ways. Distracting yourself with a different kind of problem is another way to refresh your thinking. When I hit a creative roadblock in my day-to-day tasks, stepping away to play a card or memory game helps me recharge and often will help me generate new ideas.
Creativity isn't just the arts, it's how we think. We're creative all day long but as we get older, we forget that our decision-making is actually creativity in action. Start with these three simple steps -- just 15 minutes a day -- and you'll experience a new creative groove.