In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, creatives are now rapidly adapting to the realities of working from home as design studios and ad agencies across the world have closed their offices.
Working from home (WFH) alone can take its toll. You lose your ability to focus, your work output starts to decline and every idea you come up with seems trite and unoriginal. In short, you lose your creative spark. Therefore, rather than waiting endlessly for your creative juices to start flowing again, follow these seven steps to bring back your creative mojo.
1. Schedule Time for Creativity
Time becomes somewhat amorphous when you are WFH. Try adding some structure to innovation as with other facets of life. Set aside a deliberate time to be creative and give it your focused attention. To develop a habit for creative practice, build a regular ritual. For example, Stephen King (the best-selling writer) sits down every morning to write for a few hours.
2. Stay Positive
Psychological research has shown that an elevated mood increases individual dopamine levels and improves human creativity. Positive emotions are conducive to creativity because they broaden the mind and we are more likely to think out-of-the-box. Negative emotions are detrimental to creativity because they narrow one's focus and make us inflexible.
3. Find Time for Inspiration
Creativity is a bit like energy in that it can’t be created or destroyed, only transferred or converted. Rather than trying to make something out of nothing, fill your mind with inspiration and exposed yourself to ideas that stimulate the aesthetic sense in you. Access lectures, talks, or demos from experts in your field. Adobe provides a large selection of webinars covering software tutorials, design trends and business advice. The Adobe Live series allows you to watch and interact with professional creatives, practically approaching digital painting, video editing, graphic design and a wide range of other design skills.
4. Collaborate with Designers
Collaboration is at the very core of the creative industries. Bouncing ideas of colleagues', exchanging perspectives can result in new ideas being built upon old ones. When you are out of ideas, try talking to other professionals like yourself. There are a wide range of online sites, apps and tools for networking with other creative professionals. Dribbble (the Twitter equivalent for designers) is great for networking, sharing your work, receiving constructive feedback on your work and commenting on other user’s projects. Behance is also a similar platform to host a portfolio of your work and share your projects with other designers.
5. Try New Ways of Doing Things
Studies have hinted that one factor that often blocks people’s creativity is their existing knowledge. This suggests that familiarity is often at odds with ‘originality’. Research shows that people will often take the path of ‘least mental resistance’ – in other words, the mind is rigid with patterns and we tend to build on ideas we already have. Therefore, one of the reasons you face a creativity block may be because you are too used to doing things in a standard manner. An overly organised lifestyle is not the ideal environment to cultivate creativity. Every now and then, you need to do something different to rouse your senses. Research also suggests that placing self-imposed limitations can boost creativity because it forces creative people to work outside their comfort zone. Watch movies that are different from your normal option, try a new cuisine, etc.
6. Listen to Familiar Music
According to science, your ability to produce creative work is influenced by the type of music you listen to. While you may think switching from your usual genre will have dramatic effects on your productivity and creativity, the majority of scientific research actually points to the value of the familiar. It has long been known that listening to classical music is particularly good for improving efficiency; it is a phenomenon termed ‘The Mozart Effect.’ However, if you are not a classical music fan, the result could be reversed. It is advised to avoid genres like rock and pop and unfamiliar music, although interestingly, jazz has been linked to improved creativity and cognitive simulation.
7. Exercise Your Body and Mind
Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to enhance creativity. Cognitive psychologist, Professor Lorenza Colzato of Leiden University in the Netherlands, found that people who exercised four times a week were more creative in their thinking than those who have a sedentary lifestyle. Even the physical act of walking around the house can partly stimulates creativity because it provides temporal (between the present and the future) and spatial (between your physical location and faraway places) distance, according to psychologists. These physical and chronological breaks enable our minds to approach problems in new ways. Research also supports that meditation can have a profound impact on human cognition and how we formulate new thoughts and ideas.
Ultimately, creativity requires a more deliberate approach when you WFH. Whether you are scheduling time for creativity, forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, or finding inspiration and collaborating with like-minded people, there are many ways to stimulate creative thinking in your work.
Fauzia Kerai Khan is Chief Executive, i&b Consulting, Training, eLearning. email@example.com