Small changes to get more creative

Many are convinced that creativity is reserved only for those incorrigible dreamers who endlessly enjoy their little creative chaos, composed of words, scissors, canvas and paintbrushes, musical instruments and many other little things that make them look far outside the box. But creativity is not only that; it is a skill that can be gained by virtually every individual if diligent and persistent.

The largest research regarding creativity in the workplace has been conducted by Teresa Amabile, a Director of Research at Harvard Business School; she wanted to identify the factors that obstruct creativity. The research – in which postgraduate students, directors of various companies and PhDs participated – showed that everyone was able to achieve certain level of creativity, which however varies based on their experience, their desire to accept new ideas, their talent, their knowledge and self-motivation. Amabile rejects the mistaken belief that only talented people can be so creative, and points out that creativeness, first and foremost, is obstructed by the disturbances in the working environment and negative emotions that are often triggered by the worries about the unfinished work. She additionally notes that money is not the main motivator of creativity. When employees are convinced to receive a cash reward for their efforts, they are less risk-averse and thereby significantly obstruct their own creativity. The latter does not in any way mean that money does not play an important role, but that the environment is especially crucial for the development of creativity, stimulating the individual to develop his / her own abilities.

Of course, it is difficult to imagine an ideal environment where everyone finds a suitable space and time to smoothly develop creative skills, but minor tricks can help to ease the stress of everyday life. Therefore, we point out four ways that will help you when ruthless deadlines, fear and so called writer’s block take away the joy of writing. 

  1. 15 minutes a day for free writing

Perfectionism, which causes the constraint to constantly achieve perfect results, is often the main reason for pushing away your creativity. The toxicity of the cycle of endless improvements and the internal coercion that things need to be done in the best possible way significantly reduce the diversity of perspectives on a particular thing, thereby closing us into a small, confined space, completely isolated from any good idea. To get out of this vicious circle, devote 15 minutes of your day to free writing. Choose a comfortable corner to stay relaxed and calm while safe from any distractions and write whatever comes to your mind. However, do not let the semantic connection of thoughts and high expectations discourage you from writing.

  1. Don’t overlook the details

We have all been in a situation where we should pull ideas out of the bag, but there was a Word document in front of us insisting to stay blank. The endless battle with words may not be the cause of the pressure at all, but the words never came anyway. In these situations, do not look for your muse in a blank document, but look around, find something that inspires you, paying attention to every detail, even the smallest one. Observing and focusing on details will equip you with new ideas that are significantly diminished as the you age. Therefore, whenever a new idea arises, do not forget to note it. Maybe this will be the one that will spare you a great deal of anxiety.

  1. Clean up your work surface

Numerous studies prove the link between clutter and stress. Disordered working environment triggers the feelings of stress and anxiety, which obstruct the working process. Small changes are sometimes enough to increase your efficiency at work. Therefore, to get started, remove from your desk anything that might distract you from your working, and organize the rest as you see fit.

  1. Celebrate small victories

Every time you shorten your to-do list with the task done, no matter how important it was, take your moment of victory. Have a cup of coffee or take a short break and enjoy a sweet feeling of progress.

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