Normally, we like to start our blogposts with some witty little rejoinder. But this time, let’s just go with a giant grooooooooooan. After all, it’s March, and even here in the heart of Texas, where we’re largely sheltered from frigid temperatures, all we want to do is sleep for thirteen hours a day.
Yep, we’ve got those wintertime blues. Which would be fine if we were bears and all, but for those of us in the animal world who don’t have the luxury of hibernating, staying productive during the mid-winter drag can be, well, a complete drag. And getting creative? Please! We’d rather just eat this entire package of Oreos, Liz Lemon style.
Alright, alright, we hear you, we’re getting out of bed now. And since we’re up, we’re going to suggest a number of excellent ways to boost your creativity in the office — even if all you want to do is snooze. Here we go (we’re up, we swear!)!
1. Jazz Up Your Setting
Creativity is bound to increase when you get yourself into a new setting. Ideally, this means going on vacation somewhere totally new, but why not bring the new setting to you? Re-decorate your office with bright colors, pictures of far off places, and artwork that jogs those neurons into new ways of thinking.
2. Take a New Course
Have you been harboring an interest you haven’t confessed yet to anyone at work, or thinking about ways you can move up? Taking a professional development course can really shake up your thinking. Even taking a non-work related art or music class can be beneficial to your worktime creativity, as you’ll start thinking generally in new ways.
Perhaps just as valuable, you’re likely to meet new people in these courses whose conversation could jog all sorts of new creative connections. Still, if you know you won’t go to the course when it’s cold outside and you just want to go home, opting for an online course is just as beneficial.
3. Challenge Yourself With New Projects and Approaches
You might be at your most wintertime fatigued at the moment, but right now is the perfect time to volunteer to head a new project at work. You’ll find reserves of energy you didn’t know you had as you dig into something new. If the project is especially creative, make sure to give yourself clear limitations and guidelines for the project. This may sound like the opposite of creativity, but it’s not. Limitations are tools of craft; they prevent you from getting too overwhelmed by all of the creative freedom, and give you a fun universe in which to play.
Alternatively, try a totally new approach to an old way of doing things. Or, look back on a project you did last quarter — either a successful one or one that didn’t go so well — and imagine a different outcome. Then work backwards to determine how that outcome would have been achieved. Playing with these hypothetical scenarios can inspire new ideas. And who knows? You may just find that other outcome worthy of pursuit.
4. Let Your Mind Go
Numerous studies have shown seemingly off-task activities like doodling to be deeply connected to creativity. It all has to do with a hand-mind connection. Your hand gets a lot of space in your brain, so the more freely it moves, the more it activates that area, the more that activation spreads across the brain. So, whether you’re stuck on a task or eating alone at lunch, pick up on a pen and paper and start doodling away.
Alternatively, many people find nightly meditation sparks creativity. You could also do meditation in short bursts right at your desk.
5. Combat Sleepiness
You just can’t be all that creative when you’re nodding off to sleep at your desk. One way to prevent this is is to improve the lighting around you. Namely, in the wintertime you should get more of it. That said, go for soft yellow lighting rather than fluorescent bulbs, which can disrupt your sleep cycle. It can also be helpful to sit in front of a Vitamin D lamp if you’re really experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (which you should consult a doctor about).
Additionally, work around your meal schedule, saving more creative tasks for after that post-lunch sleepiness. Try to keep your meals as light as possible so that you don’t feel like you just ate a Thanksgiving turkey as you’re trying to be brilliant.
And of course, don’t hesitate to get up and move around!
6. Go Ergo
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: one of the biggest enemies of creativity is pain. When, for example, you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome thanks to all of that typing at work, you’re more likely to focus on how much you hurt than on that new brilliant idea. Opting for a Goldtouch Ergonomic Keyboard, which offers both vertical tenting and horizontal adjustments so that you can find the perfect for you, will go a long way towards preventing such injuries, keeping you on the job and your mind on the task of getting creative.
The dog days of summer may still be a ways away, the holidays are behind us, and we are officially in the blah period of the year. But that doesn’t mean your creativity has to suffer. In fact, staying creative only takes, well, a little creativity.