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Creativity is all in the mind. And though it’s generally regarded as a mysterious and untameable phenomenon, there are certain habits we can develop to encourage more creativity in our lives.

So whether you’re looking for more motivation to pursue a passion project, or you simply want to boost your professional productivity, here are 4 habits for a more creative mind. 

Carry a notepad

Have you ever noticed how some of your most inspired ideas tend to come out of nowhere, at completely random times, in completely random places? 

Often we’ll find ourselves sitting on a train, taking a shower, or walking down the road, when a solution to a creative problem suddenly pops into our mind. And since these seemingly random ideas can turn out to be some of our best, it’s crucial to write them down.

Gathering ideas and writing down thoughts and impressions throughout the day can be endlessly rewarding. Even if our ideas don’t seem too important or groundbreaking at the time, they’ll often come in handy for a future project. And by writing down even the smallest and most seemingly insignificant creative thoughts, we’re training our minds to actively seek out ideas.

So making a habit of constantly writing down ideas, big and small, is a powerful way to boost creativity and encourage creative thinking. 

Get into good routines 

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you at work.”

— Picasso

As all creatives know, creativity is difficult to pin down. Some days it’s there, some days it’s not. As discussed above, insights can occur at any time and any place. But that doesn’t mean the process is completely out of our hands.

Cultivating solid routines can be a great way of making the time and space for creativity to flourish. And simply by showing up at the same place, at the same time, day in and day out, we can give our mind the space it needs to develop creative and original ideas.

We don’t need to worry about emails, or admin, or deadlines. We can just sit down and work, and by making ourselves less distracted we’re much more likely to experience creative breakthroughs. 

It’s like Stephen King said: 

“I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning[…] I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”

— Stephen King

Be open to suggestions 

More often than not, ego is the biggest barrier to creative breakthroughs. And one of the most difficult things to overcome can be our resistance to criticism and feedback. 

When it comes to creative pursuits, it’s easy to get carried away in striving for instant perfection. Sometimes we can make ourselves believe that if we don’t get something right the first time round, then we’re just not good enough. But that’s obviously not true. 

In reality, many of the most original and brilliant ideas are crafted through numerous revisions, each one informed by feedback and criticism. 

Everyone sees things differently, and when someone looks at our work they may interpret it in ways we never imagined. So being open to feedback and suggestions can pave the way to creative insights that we could never have reached on our own.

The trick is to stay open-minded and not let ego obstruct creativity.   

Share your ideas 

It’s true what they say, two minds are better than one. Which means sharing ideas and collaborating can sometimes yield far more creative insights than working alone

Through collaboration, we invite others to contribute to our work by sharing their unique perspectives and ideas. And in doing this we can reach entirely new levels of creative accomplishment. 

So when possible, try to work alongside a broad a range of creative minds. A writer, illustrator, graphic designer, and photographer will each approach a problem with an entirely different point of view. Each is valid, and each can contribute a unique creative outlook that will, ultimately, elevate the entire project. 

Read more

It’s like Dr Seuss said, “The more you read, the more you know.” And the more you know, the more ideas you’ll have. 

Reading is a brilliant way of forming connections between unassociated subjects and generating original insights. And whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, you’ll find that increasing your reading time may stimulate lots of creativity.

Take breaks from your work

Some of our most profound insights can occur when we’re being the least productive. Many people report stumbling on solutions to complex and long-running problems whilst gardening, or exercising, or taking a walk in the countryside.

It’s the lightbulb moment that strikes when we’re doing something completely unrelated to the creative task we’ve been working on. All of a sudden the solution just comes to us. And this can only happen if we allow ourselves to take mental breaks and disconnect from our work.

Sometimes it’s important to remember that a busy mind doesn’t necessarily have the time or the space to create new and unique thoughts.

Meditate

This is a slightly more obscure technique. But one of the more curious side effects of meditation is that it’s said to increase creativity. This is partly because meditation helps to clear the mind and alleviate stress, which in turn creates more room for thinking up ideas. 

By meditating regularly, you can open up a mental space in which new ideas can develop and flourish undisturbed. Not only that, but meditation comes with a whole host of other positive mental benefits which may also boost your creativity.

Inspiration = creativity 

To further fuel your creative engine, why not take a look at our post on how to improve your brand storytelling, or take a look at these 15 podcasts to inspire your creativity.