One of the questions I’m asked most from you guys is how to improve creativity. Especially when days get hectic and you feel like you barely had time to brush your teeth, how do you stay creative?
While different things work better for different people, here a list of 20 tried and true, practical tips to increase your creativity and get those positive juices flowing. Each of these impactful tips can be done in just thirty minutes or less. So, in the time it could take you to lust over your acquaintances beach vacation photos on Facebook, you could be thinking clearer and more creatively on how to take the trip yourself. 😉
Now let’s get going!
How To Improve Creativity In Ten Minutes Or Less
Drink More Coffee
I know I know. Too simple right? Having a morning cup of coffee actually blocks adenosine receptors in your brain, which helps you feel more alert (especially when your brain wants to slow down.) This is how coffee increases your energy and helps our concentration, which aids in increasing your creativity. If you are sitting down to work on a new project, having a cup of coffee on hand could help you stay on task and feel more creative and accomplished. So drink up!
Listen to Music
Music stimulates the part of our brain responsible for our emotions, actions, and creativity. You can check out more via this study here. So create a playlist that pumps you up and have it playing while you get dressed, commute, or in the background at work if it lifts you up. Listening to Mozart has been proven to increase creativity, concentration, and other brain-boosting benefits. This book, “The Mozart Effect” is on my reading list this year to learn more.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t seem to get on top of your to-do list, jotting everything down in a big, unorganized list (or brain dump) can help relieve anxiety and increase creativity. Just by taking a pen to paper and writing your thoughts in an unorganized, thought-dumping fashion can relieve stress and give a fresh perspective. Then, looking at your list and prioritising each task can really help you think creatively about your list of projects. So next time you have a lot on your mind, try a good Brain Dump and see how you feel!
Meditation increases focus, memory, creativity, compassion, productivity, and reduces anxiety, depression, pain and stress. We all know how good it is for you, yet for some reason we can’t find those ten quite minutes a day to practice. Try starting your morning with ten minutes of quiet before your day gets hectic. Sit comfortably (I like to sit on a pillow cross-legged so my legs don’t fall asleep) and close your eyes. Breath in deeply for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 more seconds, and exhale slowly for 5 seconds. Do this for ten minutes and feel all your stress melt away and start your day with a clear head. Check out this study for more info.
Exercise your eyes
Therapists have been using this new technique for years with great success for everything from anxiety to negative body image to severe post traumatic stress disorder. By moving your eyes back and forth, both right and left hemispheres of the brain interact and have been shown to decrease trauma, boost creative thinking, resolve deep-seated issues. Read this article here for more info.
Create a Gratitude List
I can’t stress the importance of a daily gratitude list enough! I even incorporated it into my free day planner printable. Taking the time to jot down all the things you’re grateful for makes you feel good, sets a positive tone for the day, and increases creativity and optimism. I start each morning by writing ten new things I’m grateful for followed by a ten minute meditation before the kids get up. I can’t tell you how much it affects my entire day in the best way!
Take a Pen to Paper
I get inspired just by pursuing the stationary section at Target, but the act of taking a pen to paper can be so therapeutic and rewarding. It forces you to slow down and think differently about what you are doing. In this book, The Creativity Cure physicians with 40 years of medical expertise reveal how fundamental need to create is and how to increase creativity just by working with our hands in a basic way.
Have you ever noticed how you come up with your best ideas in the shower? Or right before bed? That’s because we tend to do our best thinking when our minds are wandering. Take a few minutes to daydream and see what comes up. Give your brain a break, think outside the box, and allow yourself to daydream.
Gesture with two hands
It might seem strange, but using your non-dominant hand forces your to think creatively. It has often been said that left-handed people are more intelligent and creative because they are constantly adapting to a right-handed world. Perhaps using your non-dominant hand will give new perspective and increase your creativity as well. This article by MentalFloss gives a summary of several different studies done on left versus right-handed participants.
Have A Cocktail
Yes please! One study confirmed that people who consumed an average of 3 drinks were more creative than people who didn’t drink at all. I’m not saying you should drink responsibly… but having a cocktail before you sit down to write may not be a bad idea after all.
Look at Something Blue or Green
Both blue and green have been shown to improve performance and cognitive tasks while red improves attention to detail. Depending on the task at hand, maybe choose your coffee mug in a color that stimulates that part of your brain. See the study here.
Studies have found that you can solve complicated anagrams faster while lying down than in seated positions. Read about it here. Next time you need to put your critical-thinking cap on, try solving the problem while lying down and see how you feel.
How To Improve Creativity in 30 Minutes or Less
Take a Walk
Just getting outside can clear your head, helps you decompress from a stressful situation, relieve anxiety, and boost creativity. Spending just 15 minutes outside can do wonders to clear a foggy mind and improve cognitive ability. Try to incorporate a daily walk into your routine and see how it makes you feel.
Create Something…. Anything With Your Hands
Using our hands gives you a huge creativity boost according to the Barrons. Making anything at all- it doesn’t even matter if it’s “good” or not, requires your brain to use several senses at once, which increases creative thinking. Making something by hand gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment when you are done as well. For an added bonus, try a new hobby like baking, embroidery, or photography.
Rotate Tasks With A Timer
Not only is this a great productivity hack, rotating tasks with a timer requires you to switch gears and focus on something new, boosting your focus and creativity simultaneously. Next time your overwhelmed by your to-do list, try this approach. Set a timer for 15 minutes to check your email, then when the timer goes off, set it again and do a house chore. When that timer goes off, go back to checking your email. Breaking up your tasks into smaller chunks creates will help them all get done faster.
Spending time with people you like and trust often leaves you feeling more inspired and creative because you can be yourself and talk freely about your passions and dreams. Sharing your ideas with friends who “get you” can be the perfect shot of creativity that will help you get through your day.
Not only is exercise for your physical body, it has incredible benefits for your mind as well. Exercising stimulates your brain in a way that improves creative thinking and inspires new ideas with the boost of serotonin levels post-workout.
Try Something New/ Add Variety
In general, when you feel stuck in a rut and are locked into a routine too deeply, creativity suffers. To mix it up, even small changes may inspire more creativity. Make your coffee with a new creamer, walk your dog on a new street, or take a shower at a different time during the day.
Do Some Yoga
Yoga has become one of my favorite parts of the day. It relieves stress, anxiety, improves flexibility, and boosts your serotonin levels leaving you feeling recharged, more energetic, and more creative overall. If you don;t have time to take a class, there are several YouTube classes that take fifteen minutes or less.
Take A Power Nap
If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed or stressed about a particular problem, a power nap may be just what you need. Power naps stimulate right-brain activity, which is responsible for creativity. Quick, twenty minute naps help our brain process experiences in new ways and come up with new ideas or ways of thinking about them.