10 Tips to Become More Creative | FreshGigs.ca

10 Tips to Become More Creative


What is your creative process? Are you aware of it? Creativity is one of those processes that seems to have a shroud of mystery around it. Some people demonstrate regularly creativity, while others search for creativity.

I believe creativity is a muscle; not a gift. I believe that everyone has the ability to be creative, however for many reasons they don’t believe this.

Start with one day. Rest your mind and turn off the television. Read a book instead. Clean up. Exercise.

Having said that, sometimes it’s tough to be creative. Sometimes you need a push. Just like working out, you’ve got to change things up to produce the best results. Here’s 10 tips to boost creativity.

1.) Workout (Everyday)

Exercise is a wonderful thing. The benefits are incredibly vast and extend beyond purely physical. From engaging in a brisk walk to a heart-pounding gym session, exercising relaxes the mind and allows you to think clearly. For me, the best ideas tend to come after exercising.

Get outside and get sweaty. But don’t do it just once – make regular exercise a habit. Exercise for 5 minutes a day, every day. That’s all. The cumulative benefits are incredible.

2.) Throw Out The Trash

I’m talking about television here. Facebook. Your social media addiction. Watching television has been linked to lower levels of creativity, as measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. And don’t even get me started on the amount of time wasted every day watching television. (Spoiler: an average of 5 hours per day).

Start with one day. Rest your mind and turn off the television. Read a book instead. Clean up. Exercise. You’ll be amazed how much time you gain from cutting out television. And the effect on your brain, stress level, and attitude will be extremely positive.

3.) Write Down Everything

Those with the best ideas are those who have had the most bad ideas. Get all of your bad ideas down. Make it a challenge to write down every bad idea you can think of. Whether it’s after 10, 20, or hundreds, I guarantee you’ll write down some good ones.

If you’re an audiophile like me, new music is one of the quickest ways to change mood and experience a genuine smile.

Keep a notepad with you at all times. Everybody seems to know this advice, but it’s rare that I see someone follow it. Whether it’s a moleskin or digital, keep something handy to jot your ideas down. How many times have you had a great idea and forgot it 5 minutes later?

4.) Download New Music

If you’re an audiophile like me, new music is one of the quickest ways to change mood and experience a genuine smile. Hearing things you’ve never heard before is an exercise in creativity itself. If you love pop music, give some indie rock a try. If you like country, try classical.

Two of the artists I found that drastically changed my perspectives are:

Mike Oldfield – itunes.com/mikeoldfield
Fela Kuti – itunes.com/felakuti

5.) Meditate

Probably the best long term habit you can make. Take a breather and shut everything out. I’m even going to tell you how to do it.

Sit upright; hands on your knees. Set a timer for 5 minutes and close your eyes. All the breathing you will be doing will be through your nose. Take a long, deep breath in. Hold it at the top. Breathe out slowly. Hold at the bottom. Repeat.

Don’t worry about any thoughts you may have that come up. Don’t try to do anything. You’ll notice that during the pauses, you will have no thoughts. Enjoy this! Try to commit to meditating every day. A few minutes a day is all you need.

6.) Do Something Different

The trick here is to be present when you do so. Take a new route to work. Try a new exercise routine. Go to a new coffee shop. Pick up the old guitar. Whatever it is, do something outside your normal routine. And don’t do it with your mind focused on the million different problems you may have. Stay focused; focus is a form of meditation.

7.) Create Something

Creating something inherently uses creativity. Be visual. I’m a writer, so whenever I have a problem with writing, I turn to the drawing board. I can’t draw at all, but I love to mindmap. Trying to improve your business plan? Instead of adding another 5 pages of text, make the whole thing a one page picture. Try and demonstrate your value proposition in a drawing. If it’s too complex, maybe it’s time to make some changes.

Of all the teachers I’ve had in school, there are few that I remember. Those that do stand out have had an important influence on my life. One of mine was Lauren Rielly-Mcdougall of Lozenger. She taught me this business plan drawing. Try it out!

Explore your own backyard. Go to the coast or the mountains. Cross the border. Get on a plane. Buckle up.

8.) List Things You’ve Always Wanted To Try – And Do One

Whether it’s dropping in on a salsa dancing class, taking a creative writing course, learning how to program computers, windsurfing, or taking music lessons; learning a new skill is a great way to widen your perspective. Can’t decide? Roll the dice. Just go and do it.

9.) Pose Your Problem To A Child

If it’s a complex problem, simplify it so a child can understand. Play with blocks to demonstrate. Give them creative reign. They may see things so obvious you don’t. Laugh. I’m constantly surprised at the connections my 5 year old niece can make. Don’t underestimate children.

10.) Travel
This doesn’t have to be far away. Doesn’t it seem odd that visitors seem to know more about your home than you do? Explore your own backyard. Go to the coast or the mountains. Cross the border. Get on a plane. Buckle up.

Above All, Make A Change

All this advice has one common element – to ‘get out of your way;’ do something different. Staying in the same routine will make breaking out of the rut that much more difficult. Creativity is a muscle. You may never have the ability to paint like Picasso or write like Hemingway, but you can increase your creative output.

And remember that creativity requires practice like any other skill. Whatever your art may be, make time for it. The above tips will help you increase your creative output, but it’s the day in, day out, hours spent honing your craft that will predate true breakthrough.

How to be creative

Staying Active – The Full Story

Americans spend 34 hours a week watching TV

Sticking to a Habit – The definitive guide

Explaining the decline of creativity in american children


  • Brian Richards


    • Brian Richards

      Hello Jeffrey. I too, started two businessess – both of which were successful. However, I believe one cannot “unlearn”, rather that it is a kind of learning that tells you, perhaps, not to go there. All learning is useful. If you think of peers who embrace what you wanted to unlearn, then you have a distinct advantage in the marketplace, so the original learning becomes very useful. Besides, there are a million headhunters out there that would disagree with both of us. Maybe that traditional learning is the birthplace of recruiters.

      • Hi Brian! I agree with you that all learning is useful. I guess the challenge, then, is to decipher what type of learning is most useful and applicable for you, and devour as much as you can of it, while avoiding knowledge that isn’t actionable. However this brings us to a state where you may know more and more about less and less. To be creative, having a breadth and depth of knowledge is important. So I guess the question is, what does one choose to learn when we live in a world with a glut of information?

  • Hi Brian, may I ask what about the article you didn’t agree with? I understand creativity is a personal experience – and what I write here may not necessarily work for you. But several points above do have research backing up the claim that creativity can be affected, both positivity and negatively, by taking these actions.

    • Brian Richards

      Creativity is simply taking everything that you’ve seen and heard and adding yourself. Most creatives don’t do this. They simply steal other people’s ideas or use generic solutions done a million times before – like the old dictionary definition execution. I had one partner who became a CD and never had a single creative thought, because he was ignorant, but not stupid. Knowing clients don’t read the annuals, he was able to use a lot of other peoples work from around the world and make a good living. I think that the more you do, read and experience is the path to developing ideas with a new twist or positioning. It’s a lot of what you said, in fewer words. In 12 years, I won over 100 national and international awards for “creativity” until I realized I wouldn’t hire most of the people who give
      them out. So, I stopped. The other thing that bothers me about this process is the fact you can have one good idea and enter 20 shows with it. I didn’t do that, but I know lots who did. Finally, the older I get, the more creative I get simply because I have learned more and know more than someone who is 25.

      • Thanks Brian. Your experience says a lot, and I very much appreciate your detailed comment. I agree about always learning – through experience, reading, and pushing your own ideas you can expand your creativity. Thanks again.

        • Brian Richards

          The real tragedy Jeffery, is the colleges and universities that purport to teach advertising and ‘creativity’. I have lectured many times at OCAD and a number of others. Despite having had two successful agencies, I have never hired one of their grads because I believe essentially, they have to start all over again. I really think the tuition is a shame for 4 years of nothing. In my research, I found that 68% of CDs dump all over the work of their peers! How is that possible when so many people from the client and agency are part of the process? In other words, if you are looking for work, the odds are two to one against you.

          • I think this is a common theme, and one not just among creative courses. When I graduated from Business school and subsequently started two companies, I had to un-learn a ton and start from the ground up. So I guess the question is, how valuable is formal education for creative pursuits? Perhaps the answer is to become creative, you have to practice creativity. And if so, it does seem to clash with a formal education system.