Sometimes, when you’re stuck in the madness of running a business, it can be hard to be creative, even if your business itself is creative. You get overwhelmed by the number of tasks and fall into a routine of just getting the business essentials done, then at the end of the day, you collapse in a heap on the sofa with Netflix and chocolate fudge. Please tell me that’s not just me?!
Whether your business is creative or not, to me, being creative helps to bring fresh new ideas, inspire productivity and relieve stress.
Draw and doodle whatever comes to mind. Use bright coloured pens and pencils for bonus creativity points! Sometimes I just draw swirls and flowers, but when you let your mind wander, you can come up with some magical doodles and ideas. Plus, if you’re running a creative business with products to design and sell, your doodles could become product ideas!
2. Buy a book like Becoming Me by Andrea Pippins
This book is LOVELY. It’s a journal and activity book for adults to encourage a creative life. Not only is it beautifully designed, it is full of inspiring quotes and activities to help you to be more creative and follow your dreams.
3. Learn something new
Someone recently told me that learning new things keeps him young. He believes that once you start getting into a routine in life and doing the same old things, that is when you age and your mind starts to deteriorate. Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to learn? It doesn’t even have to be related to your business! Maybe you’ve always wanted to make your own clothes or cook Thai food. There’s a course out there for everybody. And there’re also tons of books and free information online on every subject imaginable.
4. Write your thoughts
I find it hard to be creative when I’m stressed or when something is troubling me. When I write down my negative thoughts or worries, it’s almost like I can let go of them or sometimes I challenge them and realise that my worries are irrational. Writing down your thoughts, both good and bad, can help to clear your mind and find focus, leaving room for your creativity to shine.
5. Read a book
Whether it’s a young adult romance, Horrible Histories, a biography, anything, reading a book and travelling to a new world in your mind can unleash creativity.
6. Go for a walk
Take your camera and/or notebook and just walk. Really immerse yourself in nature and take notice of things you may not have before. By taking your camera you’re more open to looking for beautiful and interesting things to take photos of.
7. Attend an art or craft class
Creating something with your own hands is amazing. Whether you sew a dress or paint some pottery, trying a new art or craft class could boost your creativity, help you meet new creative people and even give you a new hobby.
8. Write a bucket list or a dream list
Writing a list of all the things you want to accomplish in your life, can kick start your motivation and get you working hard towards these things. I’ve got a bucket list as long as my arm and I’m always adding to it. When I need some motivation, I have a note on my desktop that I read through with all the things I’d like to accomplish, and I remind myself that in order to do a lot of these things I need to work hard and earn money. For example, buying a house has always been on that list, but the other day I found my dream house! It’s a lot more money than I had in mind but rather than dismissing it, I’ve used it as motivation to help me build my business so one day I can hopefully afford a beautiful home like that.
9. Buy a huge canvas and some paints, and without thinking too much, just start painting
Let loose the inner Picasso! Forget about routine and organisation, and just create. It doesn’t matter if the finished piece is a mess, just use it as a creative outlet. You can always paint over it again!
10. Try a new, creative, exercise
There are tons of crazy new exercise classes now. The most recent one I’ve been to is Boogie Bounce where you dance and jump around on your own mini trampoline, and the next on my list is Aerial Yoga! You don’t have to go to the gym or spin classes, mix it up a bit and try something exciting and new!
11. Declutter your to-do list
Do you have a to-do list full of small, unimportant things that just sit there forever and ever? Or worse, are they all in your mind?!
Write down everything that you need to do or would like to do. Now go through the list and using your best highlighters, highlight the truly important, money-making tasks. Then highlight any that you’d like to outsource. Highlight any that are for the future, and save them somewhere else to look at later.
Go through all of the tasks that are left, and being ruthless, cross off any that don’t really have an effect on your business, for example I had a ton of tasks on my list that just said “read this article” with a link to an old blog post I never got around to reading.
Schedule a couple of hours or a day if you can to go through any of the remaining tasks and get them ticked off! For me, these little tasks that spend eternity at the bottom of my to-do list are things like “set up bookkeeping properly on 17Hats” or “Update Facebook page banner”.
I spend so much time on client projects and more important tasks, that the little things get forgotten about and just clog up my to-do list, and my mind! I actually really enjoy setting aside a day to go through my to-do list and complete these small nagging tasks! The same goes for tasks that you’ve started but never finished. Finish them and tick them off!
12. Now declutter your workspace!
Tidy workspace, tidy mind! Sort out your desk and get rid of anything cluttering up your workspace. Could you repaint the walls a lovely bright colour? Or even your desk?! Organise, move around and redecorate your workspace so that it’s as efficient and inspiring as possible.
13. Create a ‘happy wall’
I first came across this term in an Etsy Facebook group. Someone had a ‘happy wall’ with posters and cards with quirky designs and inspiring quotes as well as photos that made them feel happy. I’ve now got a happy wall featuring a ‘dream’ metal sign, ‘Don’t quit your day dreams’ embroidery hoop, an illustration my friend did and other inspiration posters, cards and trinkets. Stick to the wall with pretty washi tape or get a big pin board!
14. Schedule time away from your computer
If you’re always on your computer for work, make sure you schedule a time to spend away from your computer, preferably moving because all that sitting down is not good for you! Set a timer to remind you every hour to walk around for a few minutes or to do some stretches. Go and make a coffee, take the dog for a walk, go to the gym, book a yoga class in the middle of your day, organise to meet friends for lunch… Leaving your computer at regular intervals gives your brain a rest and stops you from turning into a robot!
15. Connect and work with others
For me, networking groups are terrifying. But they are great places to meet like-minded business people. Unfortunately, a lot of networking groups are very corporate and not really creative places to be! Most of them offer a free session, so explore and find the right one for you. There are also groups online where you can connect with others to share business advice and collaborate for projects. Consider creative groups too, like your local ‘knit and natter’. Connecting with other creative people can help you to inspire each other’s creativity.
16. Use a planner, creatively!
A planner is supposed to help you to plan your tasks and keep you motivated to reach your goals. But it doesn’t have to be boring, black and white or just sticking to the facts. Use coloured pens and pencils, doodle, record successes, stick in images, write inspirational messages…Be creative.
17. Take a day off and go somewhere exciting
Go to the beach, the cinema, the forest, a theme park, the zoo…Let loose your inner child and go somewhere that excites you. Take a notebook with you in case inspiration strikes!
18. Accept that done is better than perfect
Too many times I’ve stressed about work being pixel perfect, and it sucks all of the creativity and joy out of it. Rather than worrying about something being absolutely perfect, just get it finished, and 9 times out of 10 you’ll realise you’re just being too hard on yourself.
19. Challenge yourself
When you’re old and you look back on your life, what do you want to see? I want to look back and see that I’ve had a fun and interesting life, full of challenges that I’ve overcome. It could be something like running a successful business or travelling around the world. Challenge yourself to become wiser and braver and happier.
20. Fall in love with Pinterest
Pinterest is a sneaky thing. It can fill your mind with ideas and creativity, but also suck hours out of your day! It’s just so addictive! Put some time aside to explore Pinterest and create boards to inspire you. I have boards for travel, business tips, creative workspaces, dreams, inspiration and more!
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