By Guest Blogger: Charla Mahon
Experience teaches us ways that are tried and true, and that has its place so that we don’t keep retracing the same steps. However, new and creative ideas are often needed to help move us forward. Often, a business is successful to the extent that it embraces creative thinking.
Business owners know that creativity is needed to tackle everything from business marketing to problem solving. Creativity doesn’t always just happen, though, and sometimes we get in the way of our own creativity. So, what can we do to foster creativity? Here are some suggestions:
- Get a good night’s sleep. With unfinished work or housework to do, the lure of a good TV show, and the enticement of other distractions, sometimes it is a chore to make oneself go to bed. But, remember that it’s very hard to be creative when you’re tired.
- Leave big decisions, problem solving, and certain tasks for peak times. Each of us has certain times of the day when we are the most alert and, therefore, the most creative. Sometimes it just makes sense to put off making big decisions or doing certain tasks until these times of the day. You may even find that you’re more balanced in your approach to problem solving during these times.
- Don’t procrastinate. I can hear you asking, “Say what? How can this help me to be more creative?” Dreading a task that you know you have to do drags you down and inhibits creativity. You may find yourself thinking, “I’d love to start something new, but I have to do THIS first before I can start THAT.” Well, do it then! Handling dreaded tasks and clearing them off your plate makes way for creativity.
- Vary your routine. Trying something new in your routine, however small, will often stimulate new ideas. You could exercise before work, eat a different breakfast, or read something that inspires you.
- Take a break from the morning news. It’s good to be informed, but sometimes we need to shut out anything that will deter us from creative thinking. I’ll be the first to admit that some news stories are inspiring, but there’s an equal chance that they will be worrying if not downright depressing. You won’t know until it’s too late, so sometimes it’s best to wait to catch the news later in the day.
- Visit a new place. This will also stimulate new ideas. But, where should you go? You don’t always have to go far. Many times we overlook treasures in our own communities, but they are there if we look for them. TIP: Ask school children where they went on their last field trip. You can get some good ideas that way!
- Practice creativity. If you don’t already have a creative outlet, try a new hobby or craft. If that’s not practical for you, make a more conscious effort to be more creative during your day. Ask yourself if there’s a different way that you could be doing a given task. You may find that different is better.
- Memorize your new ideas, and then write them down. Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of being inspired and then when you go to write down your new ideas, you’ve forgotten them? I have, so now what I do is stop for a minute, retrace my thoughts and memorize how I got there. Once I feel comfortable that I’ve got it, then I grab the pen and paper.
How do you encourage creativity? Do you have responses to my ideas or additional ones to share? If so, please comment below.
“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau
Charla Mahon is the owner of Concord Virtual Office Services. She provides internet marketing, WordPress, and project management services to small businesses. Charla also helps authors to launch their virtual book tours. She is a member of the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) and holds an Internet Marketing Specialist Certification as well as IVAA’s EthicsCheckTM certification. For more of Charla’s blog posts, visit her website at www.concordva.com.