Do you feel like you’ve been in a professional rut lately, your creative tank running on fumes? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at one point or another. Re-discover your creative side to jump-start that project, breathe life into your team, or to simply become a better leader and professional.
Leaders are Readers
When’s the last time you picked up a book? When you begin to read more consistently, you’ll find that not only are you learning new things, you’re finding fresh, creative ways to apply ideas to your own business. According to Refresh Leadership, the average CEO reads 4-5 books per month; this is four to five times the number of books an average person reads in a year.
Did you know that over the last several years, studies have shown that one-third of polled employees usually eat lunch at their desk, and 16% said they seldom or ever take time for lunch? When you step away for a break and come back, you’ll be more refreshed, especially if you allow yourself to do something fun. Different parts of your brain are activated when you engage in an enjoyable activity, which is why so many successful companies have adapted their break areas and created an environment where play can happen. Google offers foosball and ping-pong tables, massage chairs, video games, snacks and more. Facebook has beanbag chair lounges, kegs, on-site chefs, and at their headquarters, an outdoor skate park. (Check it out!) It doesn’t have to be this extravagant; maybe you take your team to go play laser tag one afternoon and meet together afterwards, or you grab a football and head outside to toss it around with your colleagues for a few minutes as you brainstorm. Maybe go on a quick walk, or play a quick game of checkers when you get stuck. Here at Visual Creatives we have a spinning swing that gets a lot of use when one of us needs a little extra thought. We also have a couple of dogs, but they cause more stress than they alleviate most days!
Bringing in a fresh perspective or another set of eyes can really help when you feel like you’re in a rut. Collaboration isn’t a sign of failure or weakness; in fact, it represents the opposite and can make your ideas and creativity stronger than if you were working alone. Call in a trusted team member or colleague and put your heads together!
As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.
– Amy Poehler
When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it was you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.
Take It Outside
A change in scenery helps your frame of mind, boosts energy, improves morale and enjoying fresh air and sunlight actually boosts your mood and health. Take your meeting outside of the four walls of your office or conference room, and you’ll be amazed at how it can help get your creative juices flowing. Sit outside your office or find a nearby park for your next meeting!
Make It Fun
If you’re in a brainstorming session, create an experience that is fun and light-hearted. Try background music, offering snacks, or opening with a funny YouTube video. Set the tone for an environment that is open to any and all ideas, especially by verbalizing this before you get started. We know that not all ideas are great ideas, but by doing this, it encourages everyone to think outside the box and offer up some potentially great ideas, without fear of their suggestion being called “stupid,” or being told it won’t work.
Make It Tactile
Using your hands while you think engages numerous senses and activates different parts of your brain than sitting idly. (Read more here) Try setting out jars of PlayDoh, Slinkies, Silly Putty, Koosh balls or something similar around the table and encourage folks to play with them as they think and talk. Bring in colored sticky notes of various shapes and sizes, with multiple colors of pens/markers and encourage people to use them for brainstorming. Physically writing out ideas versus using a keyboard also engages the brain in a different way. Have people get up out of their chairs and stick their ideas up on the walls, windows and doors under categories to make it even more tactile.
Which of these will you try to get your creative juices going again?
Here are some free resources to get you started!