The balance between productivity and constructed chaos, is a fine one. We aim to ‘get shit done’ so we turn to multi-tasking and with it the multiple tabs, the alerts going off on our phones. Before we know it the phrase ‘so many windows open but no air to breathe’ feels very real. This type of productivity can work for tasks that do not take much brain power (think tidying up your desktop with an audio book on), but when it gets in the way of creativity we need the space to focus, ground ourselves and put ideas down on paper. Here is what I am currently experimenting with to cultivate creativity.
Your mind is in a muddle and you cannot see what is a good idea and what should permanently reside at the bottom of a bin? I find that clearing it up, takes a little silence. Using meditation, to sit quietly in space, gives your mind a break from trying to solve the problems.
It may seem counter productive when you have an impending deadline, to take time away from your screen or notebook, but giving yourself time to reflect will actually help to get clear on which ideas are working and which aren’t. This time out gives you the energy to focus and to come back to the problem with the energy to solve it.
Get into nature
Build nature into your day by walking to your studio via a near-by park, buy your groceries from the local stores where the vegetables line the pavements, take your lunch break outside and get a good dose of people watching while you are at it. Not only will you come back with more ideas, they will be more unique and inspired than anything you could of found by scrolling through a post on your screen.
When was the last time you took a photo of something just because it filled you with joy? When I feel creatively disjointed, I keep it simple. I grab my camera, head out and give myself one rule: to just photograph without reason, anything I find beautiful. All the creativity: none of the pressure.
Try this on your lunch break with your smart phone and keep your eyes open for all those beautiful things you never looked up to notice. If photography isn’t your thing, trying going to a café and writing creative profiles of the people around you, or take your sketch pad to the park and draw the leaves, pigeons and people passing by.
Get to a yoga studio or put on those trainers on for a run. A burst of energy can help to get things moving again not just in your body but in your mind too. Some good twists in yoga can help to reveal pain points and release the barriers that were holding you back from your creativity. A bolt of energy and a beating heart releases endorphins that bring an emphusiasm back to your work.
When cultivating creativity meet with those friends that give you energy rather than drain it. Meeting with the people that, upon departing you cannot wait to create , can make or break the spirit of the day. It can help you get back on track and put you on a new trajectory with a different perspective on that challenge.
If you don’t have these connections in life yet, now is the perfect opportunity to meet your creative tribe. The internet is your friend! Join groups in your city, with people that are interested in the same things as you. They may host networking events or workshops where you can meet likeminded souls while learning a skill.
If not available, start your own! I did this in Oslo and now host monthly intimate talks and events for creative freelancers, where we meet around a table to talk shop and suport each other within the community.
If you are ever in Oslo, I would love to meet you! Head to Out of Studio to find out more or share bellow how you get into your flow. Making space for ideas and creativity will always be a work in progress, but with focus, I hope to create more, consume less and connect with like-minded individuals.