Kick off Your Most Creative Week Yet: A Monday-Friday Plan
I would argue that creativity is one of the most important life skills to master. And it is indeed a skill. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a difference between those “blessed” with creativity versus those who aren’t. We are ALL creative. Some of us grew up in an environment where our creativity was nurtured, while some of us did not. Growing up, some of us were told we were creative, while others were not. But as humans, creativity is a part of our make-up. From the beginning of our existence we have made, designed, innovated, built, problem-solved, challenged the status quo, questioned and created – often something from nothing.
So let’s let go of the idea that we’re not all creative, and instead focus on how to nurture that creativity. Why should I be more creative, you ask? What’s the point? Creativity is so much more than making something with your hands (although that is one of its most obvious and beautiful forms). Creativity is the ultimate empowering skill because it gives you options. Instead of seeing things from one point of view, creativity allows you to see that there is a way around, under, or over, if not through. Creativity is not only about creating beauty through making, it is also about problem solving. It is a skill that you can use at work, at home, in your relationships, in your life. You may already be creative in so many ways, but believe me, you are probably barely scratching the surface.
Here are some ways to amp up your creativity starting this week:
Switch up your routine. When I first met my husband, he would drive a different route to work or home every time we got into the car. At first I would point out the fastest, most efficient way to get from point A to point B, but then I realized that switching up your routine is one of the easiest ways to up your creativity. Routines are great because they create systems for our lives…but often they can put us in a rut. Get off a subway stop or two early and walk the rest of the way to work, start your morning with a ten-minute meditation instead of checking your phone, head to a new coffee shop in a different neighborhood instead of your regular stop.
Flex your idea muscle – come up with 10 ideas today. One of my favorite writers, James Altucher, advocates exercising your idea muscle by coming up with 10 new ideas every day. It could be anything from 10 ways to increase revenues at my business, 10 ways to impress my boss, 10 ways to spend more quality time with the kids, 10 ways to decorate my living room inexpensively, etc. The idea is to get all the way to 10, and every day. You won’t love all your ideas, but pushing yourself to come up with them is the point.
Meet someone new and record what you learned from your interaction with them. It is easy for me to avoid meetings with new people in favor of working on BRIKA or being with my daughter, but I’ve made a point of meeting with someone outside my immediate sphere at least once every two weeks. Whether you meet with someone younger and less experienced, a peer, or someone who would fit the mold of a mentor, you will walk away with an insight, a new point of view, or a little nugget of wisdom.
Disconnect today. Don’t check your phone for at least one hour after waking in the morning and power off at least one hour before turning in at night. Set a timer for every 90 minutes for when you can mindfully check your phone, versus mindlessly picking it up throughout the day. Focus on one task at a time. Be fully present when speaking to another person, whether your colleague, partner or barista at the coffee shop. Take proper breaks during the day where you step away from your computer or phone. Creativity needs space and breathing room to blossom.
Play! When is the last time you truly played? As an entrepreneur and new mother, this is one of the toughest ones for me. Between working, taking care of my baby daughter and spending time family and friends, where does play fit in? And do we even know what it is to play any more? Think about the things you used to love doing as a kid. I loved redecorating my room, wandering in the woods behind my house and daydreaming, writing stories and making up dances to my favorite songs. Maybe I won’t be making up dance routines anytime soon, but there are hints to what “play” would make me happy in those things.
Rethink new ways of doing EVERYTHING. Whenever you come across any challenge in your day, think of ways to do it differently. It’s amazing how much ownership we have over our lives within the constraints we feel we live with. Challenge yourself to come up with new solutions to old or common problems in your day to day, and you may find yourself surprised at the results.
This article was written by BRIKA Co-Founder & Crafter of Brand, Kena Paranjape.