With all the interruptions we encounter in life – multiple job roles – 24/7 access, “finish it now” deadline, it’s hard to retain a creative perspective when we look at the things that lead to innovations – annoyances we want to overcome, blue ocean opportunities, etc. In Too Fast To Think: How to Reclaim Your Creativity in a Hyper-Connected Work Culture, Chris Lewis offers some potential solutions. Let me share a few activities you should follow:
- Read more – it breaks the normal routine, opens you to new ideas, and gives you respect for people
- Get out more – we spend too much time in the “boxes” of work and then home, and not enough being exposed to the things that stimulate ideas. I work with a number of top college graduates who are recruited for their intelligence and creativity and then take jobs at which they work 18= hours a day 6-7 days a week. That produces burnout.
- Realize the paradox – while we want people to get creative at work, most creative ideas originated outside.
- Be present – multi-tasking eliminates the ability to see the contradictions within a single concept, which when analyzed with time, can lead to a creative insight
- Speed isn’t always good – creativity comes from incubating contradictions and paradoxes. Slow is smooth and leads to the better, faster solutions
- Get enough sleep – research shows the importance sufficient sleep to do quality work and stay creative. It’s amazing that so many (big) companies abuse their new hires with 18 hour days, and take pride in it.
- Value the power of silence – to give you the creative space you need.
And here are a few creative traits that facilitate success:
- Quiet – get rid of the noise and clutter to experience sounds, smell and touch that concentration brings
- Focus – take time to listen, believe in yourself, and the process.
- Unleash your imagination – encourage daydreaming of alternatives
- Play – relax from work, release the stress and play with the ideas. You must enjoy the creative process..
- Teach – the best way to know what you’re learning is to try to teach it. It’s one of the reasons that I offer public speeches and workshops on new areas of interest to me – because it forces me to organize it so that someone else can clearly understand it – and challenge my assumptions if they deserve it!
What are you doing to maintain your creative edge? One of the interesting findings about aging is that creativity doesn’t necessarily decline while we get older. That’s probably another reason that one of the largest group of entrepreneurs today are people who are “retiring” for their older jobs. Share with how you maintain your creative edge and what you plan to do next!