When it comes to most career fields, creativity is usually a highly sought after skill. Whether you work in marketing, teaching, advising or underwater basket weaving, creativity is key to curbing boredom, solving problems and advancing in your career. Creativity is not always an inherent skill though and that’s okay! While a creative mind may come more easily to some than others, there are several ways that anyone can get those creative juices flowin’ (regardless of how much juice ya got)! So, if you fancy yourself the creative type, or on the flipside, if you could use a refill on the ol’ CJ (creative juice), then the following tips are for you!
Whether it’s a nature walk, a good book, surfing the web or chatting with a creatively-inclined coworker, the first step to boosting your creativity is to gather some inspiration. My favorite way to do this is to scroll through posts in Facebook groups specific to my career. Since I work in higher education, I am a part of several student affairs and teaching-related groups. This means that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow colleagues who work in my career field, sharing their expertise on a daily basis.
This is how I found a helpful video on how to use the waiting room feature in Zoom and an article on how to make my syllabus look less like a contract and make it easier for my students to understand.
Incidentally, I’ve been going through quite the creative slump when it comes to my blog. I literally ended up typing “blog post ideas” in the search bar and came across this helpful article with 189 creative blog post ideas. It gave me just the right amount of juice to refill my creative, reusable, earth-friendly, BPA-free, bought-it-from-Target bottle (listen, I’ve committed to the whole juice-analogy and there’s no stopping it now).
Take a break
Sometimes staring at the screen or your notepad for too long hoping the answer will come to you, will actually end up having the opposite effect. You become frustrated instead and all that frustration will turn your juice into gross, chunky mush. And unless you’re drinking a fruit smoothie with fruit chunks, the idea of a chunky, mushy juice is disgusting (I am starting to think that I’m hitting a diminishing return on this juice-analogy). The short end of it is that you need to take a break away from the problem. Do something completely different that will take your mind off of it. Or don’t do anything at all and revel in the beauty that is boredom. I’m serious! Science can back me up on the fact that boredom can help creativity. Don’t believe me? I got receipts!
Ask for feedback
Sometimes all you need is another set of eyes on the issue. This is where your creatively -inclined coworker or industry-specific FB groups come in handy again. Not only can you use them to gather inspiration, you can also use them to get feedback on your proposed solution. Especially with the FB group, you can get great notes and ideas from dozens to hundreds of people – depending on the size of the group. If I need feedback, I can pose my question and typically expect several replies within the hour. As an example, I am teaching remotely for the first time this fall and needed some help with my class policies as I wanted to be as flexible and inclusive as possible. I typed up my plan (as a blog post as it were) and shared it with one of the groups. Within minutes, I had dozens of replies and was able to make adjustments based on the feedback I received.
Brainstorm or Braindump
Depending on whether you have too many thoughts clouding your mind or you’re drawing a blank, taking some time to braindump or brainstorm can be super beneficial. If your mind is full of everything but the creative solution you’re looking for, it can help to just write everything you’re thinking out in a notebook. Whether your mind is occupied by an endless list of chores you’ve been putting off or random thoughts on a book you’ve been reading – write it all out. Your mind will feel much less cluttered afterwards.
On the other hand, if you’re drawing a complete blank, try a quick brainstorming session with a friend or colleague to generate some ideas. Write them down and then step away. My friend Codie and I were trying to come up with topics for our next podcast episodes. My mind was completely blank. Codie came up with the idea to just start shouting out things we hate (because our podcast is about the things we hate) and 10 minutes later we had a list with over 10 topics (more on our podcast-revamp coming soon)!
What are some methods you’ve used to boost your creativity? Share them in the comments below!