6 Ways To Boost Creative Thinking

6 Ways to Boost Creative Thinking Publié le 26 May 2020 Par

All jobs require creativity and creative thinking. According to LinkedIn Learning, creativity is the most important skill for an employee or job seeker to possess. Successful companies and professionals are able to see familiar situations and processes, and envision how they can be approached and performed in new and better ways. Creative thinking is frequently thought as some sort of mysterious process, but it’s not. There are both practical and conceptual ways that we can help our minds be open to new ideas, and boost creative thinking. Here are 6 ways to boost creative thinking:

  • Get rid of clutter
  • Revamp your space
  • Listen to (instrumental) music
  • Learn something new
  • Be unafraid to fail
  • Don’t wait for the perfect idea

Get Rid of Clutter

They say that a cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind. Now while there’s always exceptions to folksy sayings, the science actually seems to support a link between tidiness and creativity. The one drawback to getting rid of the clutter, is that cleaning is a fantastic way to procrastinate. Who could sit down to work when there’s one more shelf to be dusted?

If cleaning and tidying is starting to get in the way of your efforts to focus, it will negatively affect your creativity. The point is not that you can only be creative in a sterile and immaculately clean environment, or that a messy space is the sign of a mind focused on other types of creativity. The goal is to find the right balance between the two impulses. There’s only so many times you can sweep the floor before you’re just swatting at air. That’s when it’s time to sit down and be creative.

Revamp Your Space

Our brains crave stimulation, a lack of it can lead to us feeling like we’re in a mental rut. If you find yourself unable to think of things in a different way, one technique is to look at your workspace in a different way. Reorganizing your office or workspace will help to make a new environment, giving our brains some stimulation while also helping us to reconsider familiar things in a new light. Having a literally different perspective from your desk can help you think of new ideas that can be implemented in your work.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, changing up our workspaces is easier said than done. As many of us are now practicing social distancing and working from home, our options for a workspace can be very limited, to the point of having negative effects on our physical well-being. Those who can get up and work in a different room are very fortunate, but even making small changes can help stimulate creativity. Has your desk been facing the same way for as long as you can remember? Turn it the opposite direction. Tired of looking at the same walls? Fill them with some new art and decorations. Try getting out of the chair and working on the floor if you want. No change is too small to try.

Listen To (Instrumental) Music

Music can have a dramatic effect on our mood and emotional state. Just as a happy tune can lift our spirits and a somber piece can make us pause for reflection, music can also get our creative juices flowing. A 2017 study demonstrated that playing music we perceive as positive can stimulate “divergent thinking” — that is the process in which we come up with new ideas and rethink our patterns. 

Now, a bit of context here is important. This study specifically found that classical music, the kind with no words, helped boost creative thinking. In fact, listening to music with lyrics such as a Top 40 radio show or a playlist of songs can actually be distracting for many people. Every person works differently, so if listening to your favourite songs helps improve your thinking without being a distraction, go for it! If you’re not sure, start out by playing some classical music or (personal recommendation) classic film scores. Music can boost creative thinking, and each person responds to different types of music in different ways, so don’t be afraid to experiment in order to find the right music that suits your work habits.  

Learn Something New

Learning doesn’t stop when we’re done with school. One of the keys to achieving success is to maintain a growth mindset, where we make gaining new knowledge a regular part of professional and personal lives. Over 80% of business executives cite continuous learning and reskilling as vital traits among employees. Learning isn’t just good for our careers, it’s good for our minds on a daily basis.

Learning a new skill or gaining new knowledge literally stimulates and helps to improve connections within our brains. This brain boost can lead to more creativity and helps us look at familiar things in a different and possibly better way. This does not mean that we need to learn a complex new skill every day in order to keep our brains active. Just reading a new article about a topic you find interesting, or practicing a new hobby like sketching on a napkin is enough to boost our creativity. It’s easy to get comfortable with the skills and knowledge we already possess, but committing to continuous learning on a regular basis will definitely help to boost creative thinking.

Be Unafraid to Fail

Thinking creatively means thinking of new things and in different ways. One reason that people hold onto the old ways of thinking is a fear of failure. If you think every new idea is doomed to failure, you will be far less likely to come up with them in the first place, leading your creative muscles to atrophy. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect, because perfection is not just not feasible. 

When you have a new idea and work to put it into motion, there is a chance of success and chance of failure. Even if it does not work out as well as you had hoped, by creating this new opportunity and trying something different, you will have gained valuable knowledge and insight. If you are too apprehensive about failing to create something new, your creative thinking will not improve. Embracing the chance of failure and the learning opportunities that come with it is an effective way to boost creative thinking.

Don’t Wait for the Perfect Idea

Thinking creatively is not suddenly being hit by a bolt of lightning that shoots down from the sky to light up new ideas. It’s an ongoing process, one that requires work and regular practice. The more we practice creative thinking, the easier it will be to think creatively. For instance, if you write a paragraph every morning – about anything at all as long as it gets your mind going – you will eventually find it easier to express your thoughts through words.

There is an image of creative genesis as unique talented people who wait around to be struck by the perfect idea that then comes together effortlessly. The truth, however, is the opposite. Many times those we perceive as creative geniuses are the ones who have practiced and worked hard to develop their skills. We can’t just sit around and wait to be creative, we have to start training our minds to think that way, and we will develop this skill over time. It may sound strange, but the best way to boost creative thinking may be to start being creative, knowing that we can grow and improve with time and effort.