Depending on the nature of your job, you may or may not feel that you exercise creativity on a daily basis. Nevertheless, creating room to be imaginative has proven to be an integral part of living a dream-driven and well-balanced life, as well as a catalyst for great ideas. First, you must believe and yearn for your own creative outlets. Are you not sure where to begin? Stay with me.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I not a creative person?” or said, “I don’t know how to be creative.” Usually, one of the main reasons why we decide that we are not creative is because no one ever told us that we were. Without widespread awareness of what being creative can look like, then all we know growing up is what others tell us. As a child, we do not typically possess the level of self-awareness that we do as adults. Did you know that all children are naturally artistic? At this point in development, they are not critical of their creations and playtime, unless someone presents them with either a negative response or insensitive silence. Therefore, we are all brought into this world with the capacity to be creative. Ultimately, it is up to us to value and develop our gifts.
We all have different abilities involving creativity. This is where people get hung up though. They assume because they are not an amazing painter, photographer, writer, actor, or clothing designer, that they are not truly creative. Maria Grace, Ph.D., agreed upon a sad truth in her experience as a coach and psychotherapist. She said that most of her clients, who identified feelings of depression, panic attacks, low self-esteem, insomnia, as well as purposelessness, were the ones who chose to ignore their inner creativity, as well as dreams. Wow, that is powerful. In my experience, this observation proves to be true.
For many years, I did not believe I was a creative person. Instead, I focused all my attention to earning a degree and working. At one point, I held down two demanding jobs, attended college full-time and helped lead a Bible study while in a relationship. The only mode I knew was “go, go, go and keep on going.” If I had been aware of the truth that I still possessed creativity and how to develop various skills, then I would have certainly been better rounded and fulfilled overall. I believe learning this as a child or teenager would set the stage for a purposeful and independent life as an adult.
We all need to realize that it doesn’t matter if you are greatly gifted with a creative ability or if you are talented on a smaller scale (in our world’s terms). The point is to develop your gifts and skills while enjoying what you learn along the way. Brian Eno, a composer/musician/producer, said “The point about working is not to produce great stuff all the time, but to remain ready for when you can.” He was referring to the artistic process he performs daily and weekly. Being realistic, he recognizes that he is not going to create earth-shattering music each day. However, he has dedicated himself to living a fully creative life, as he has disciplined his schedule to go through various exercises and thought techniques it takes in order to be prepared when the right idea comes along.
Eno also said, “One of the reasons I have to take distinct breaks when I work is to allow the momentum of a particular direction to run down, so that another one can establish itself.” So should we—no matter what our job or creative ability is—allow for a definitive schedule of working and then taking creative breaks. Generating this ebb and flow will make space for better ideas and results in the long run. We must not pressure ourselves so much and worry about productivity because if we channel our creativity and utilize it as a break from actual work, then our ability to focus on completing a project is heightened. We are better when we make creative pockets of time.
Although it may sound as though I live in a dream world, I assure you that I do not. However, I do make time now in my daily schedule to write, read and listen to pieces that stir up my imagination, as well as dream. I used to think this was not possible because I was so bogged down with work. Once I realized how helpful the creative time was, then I began to experiment. Before I knew it, I began to cut activities out of my day-to-day schedule that were no longer important (i.e. TV, etc.) to me. This step helped immensely.
Now, it’s time to incorporate your own creative breaks into your daily life. Here are a few practical tips on how to make it happen:
- Use a headset with your computer and close your eyes to listen to calming music of your choice.
- Take a walk outside around your office building. Look around at the trees, sky and hear the birds. Awaken your senses to the world outdoors.
- Bring some photographs to work one day with either blank white paper or a nice scrapbook piece. Start cutting and designing a layout for your pictures. Later, you can make a scrapbook or gift for someone.
- Spending at least five minutes reading snippets from your favorite book or magazine that is positive and meaningful to you. After your reading time, write down what ideas came to mind or what concepts stuck out to you.
By taking these breaks, your mind will begin to relax and decrease stress in your body, thus increasing the chance of better work productivity as well as opening the mind for creativity. Keep in mind that if someone sees you taking these breaks, they may think that you are goofing off. However, you will know that is not the case. Feel free to tell them that your work and creative life need you to take these breaks in order to be the very best you can be.