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Tag Archives: creativity

Why the Most Creative People are Also Usually the Most Productive

Don’t wait for inspiration to strike; steal these secrets to build a productive life where creativity flows naturally.

Does creativity depend on productivity?

Or does productivity require a bit of creativity?

The truth is, you often can’t be successful at one without the other. Creativity gives you the idea, but it’s productivity that determines what you’ll do with it.

So can you increase creativity by simply being more productive?

Creativity and Productivity are Intertwined

People may be born with different degrees of creativity, but everyone has the power to be more creative.

You may not be painting landscapes like Bob Ross, but you still need creativity to:

  • Create content
  • Write persuasive sales copy and calls to action
  • Brainstorm new marketing campaigns
  • Reach out to customers on social media
  • Develop a portfolio to outshine your competition


Since jobs in design, social media, marketing, and more all require an endless stream of creativity, you can’t wait around for inspiration to strike.


The only problem is creativity tends to disappear when people aren’t productive.


Without productivity, or the physical act of producing something, all your ideas and everything inspiring you to connect with others, will simply stay in your head.


And if your brain’s not rewarded for coming up with interesting ideas, you’ll stop having them.


That’s why you must not only find a way to boost your creativity, you also need to create a follow-up plan to transform it into a tangible product.

The good news is besides sharing your idea, content, or masterpiece with people who need it, an Adobe study says creators earn 13% more than non-creators[*].

And you know what’s even better?

You can boost creativity and productivity at the same time.

Secrets to Greater Creativity and Productivity

You don’t need separate to-do lists to spur your creativity or kick your butt into being more productive.

These tips will allow for greater productivity and higher creative thinking to enter your life simultaneously:

Carve Out an Uncluttered Space to Thrive

An artist doesn’t begin painting with bills, to-do lists, and cat toys hanging on their easel. So you shouldn’t let your workspace become a giant mound of mess either.


Clutter is the enemy of creativity and productivity and[*]:

  • Bombards your brain with excessive stimuli
  • Drains your attention
  • Makes it impossible to relax physically or mentally
  • Causes anxiety and creates guilty feelings
  • Tells your brain your work is out of control/never done


That’s why you need a clean, open space to brainstorm your ideas and solve problems.


It should be free of distractions, filled with inspiration (like motivating quotes, happy pictures, or a window to look out of), and closed off from loud, busy areas.


Free up this space and you’ll also free up space in your brain for creative ideas and questions.

Ask More Questions

Creative people are inherently curious. They’re interested in everything — and find everything interesting.

Science says creative people use both sides of their brain when analyzing the new experiences they have, a skill most people don’t practice often enough[*].


To cultivate this ability, expose yourself to new places, people, and things, and ask lots of questions about them — as often as you can.


Simply thinking more about what or who you encounter will feed your brain and spark inspiration, which can then fuel your creative train of ideas.


So when you’re stuck on a project, ask yourself a series of questions to let creativity unblock you, such as:

  • What’s the ultimate goal?
  • What’s the first step I need to take? And the second? And so forth.
  • What makes this unique or interesting?
  • Why is this important?


With these answers in tow, you’re sure to find greater clarity and inspiration to get your work accomplished. It also creates a mini checklist of steps you need to get done to further increase your productivity.


If you’re stuck here, your way of thinking may need an adjustment.

Practice Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking, a term coined by Edward de Bono in 1967, is the practice of “moving sideways” to solve a problem rather than tackling it head-on[*].


In De Bono’s system of Six Thinking Hats, he encourages people to use different ways of thinking as a checklist for solving a problem[*]:


  • Blue for managing and identifying what you have
  • White for using facts and information
  • Red for using emotions, intuition, and gut reactions
  • Black for the downsides associated with the idea
  • Yellow for the positives associated with the idea
  • Green for out-of-the-box alternatives



While you may think this approach seems counterintuitive to productivity, it actually stimulates your creative thinking and forces you to see situations from multiple angles.

Put on each hat and think about the idea you have. Seeing an issue from all sides will inspire creative solutions. And it keeps your productivity rolling when you get stuck.


This unique approach can help you with everything from upgrading your design skills to helping you stand out from your peers in a crowded market.


Set deadlines for uncovering these answers and you’ll be even further ahead of the game.

Follow a Schedule and Set Deadlines

A schedule can be one of the greatest productivity hacks people forget about.

When you follow the same routine, your brain doesn’t have to worry about when lunch is or what you’re going to be up to after your workout. It gets in the habit of being creative and productive at specific times during the day.


While many think creativity can’t be planned or doesn’t do well under pressure, creativity is greatest when constrained[*]. Setting a deadline will force your brain to make those connections sooner by concentrating all your attention on one task.


Sticking to self-imposed deadlines is also amazing for your productivity. Not only does it improve your time-management skills, it helps you prioritize and accomplish more.

Are You Using Your Creativity Productively?

The opposite of being productive is procrastination, or putting off a task you need to do.


Most procrastination stems from feelings of inadequacy or anxiety, which may make you too scared to tap into your creativity or start a big project for fear of failing.


If you’re not in a role where your creativity is being supported, your mountain will be much harder to climb. So it might be time to find a job where your creativity is valued, appreciated, and celebrated everyday.


Check Fresh Gigs for the best marketing, design, and tech jobs in Canada and connect with people who will pay for all your brilliant mind has to offer.


Follow these tips and your creativity and productivity will be unstoppable.

Content Creation with Extra Guac! | Interview with Amanda Riva

So far, Amanda Riva’s career path has been… absolutely delicious. As CEO of THP (The Hot Plate), she has launched a one-stop shop for brands that offers an affordable and on-demand solution for content creation and social media marketing. Emma Bullen caught up with her to talk about her career path, company culture, and what it meant to win the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

EB: How did you get to where you are today?

AR: I come from a very entrepreneurial family. My Dad is a successful tech entrepreneur, and I worked at his company underneath his VP of sales when I was 17 to help make some beer money for school. It gave me a work ethic and an understanding of how to pitch an idea and to get people to buy in and not being afraid of rejection.

I started The Hot Plate as an online cooking show in university. I had moved into my first apartment, and I loved to cook. One of my girlfriends suggested I record myself and put it on TV McGill at McGill University. At the time we were the first people speaking to Millennials about food. We went on to win the Dobson cup at Miguel for Entrepreneurship.

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Creative Cultures: Norm Li ignites a spark of greatness

Project: The Broadview Hotel, Toronto Client: Streetcar Developments

In our Creative Cultures series, writer Helen Bullingham spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From start-ups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today, Helen is at Norm Li in Toronto.

Located at Dundas and University in downtown Toronto is the visualization studio Norm Li, a rare and brilliant gem that creates Renderings, Animation and Interactive experiences for the architectural, real estate development and design industries. The studio helps clients to visualize spaces and places prior to being built or occupied. The need varies; in some instances, clients know what they want and need Norm Li’s team to bring it to life. In other instances, they seek out the design studio’s help in figuring out what that space should look like. What Norm Li delivers is a visual narrative of the space that’s so real, you can feel yourself drawn to it. And in the case of their VR applications like the image above, you can actually feel yourself in the space too.
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Why Every Organization Needs Storytellers [Interview with Ron Tite]

Branding and creativity expert, Ron Tite was named one of the Top 10 Creative Canadians by Marketing Magazine. An award-winning advertising Writer and Creative Director, Ron has worked for some of the world’s most respective brands including Evian, Hershey, Johnson and Johnson, Kraft, Microsoft, and Volvo to name just a few. He is founder and CEO of the Tite Group, Executive Producer and Host of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show Monkey Toast, and the author of Everyone’s An Artist (Or At Least They Should Be). Emma Bullen picked his brains on why every organization needs storytellers and how brands can tell great stories.

Storytelling is a fundamental part of business. Research tells us that stories help us pay attention, teach us to be more empathetic, and allow us to remember concepts years after we’ve heard them. Within the workplace, narratives can help us make sense of an organization, and are an impactful way to communicate values. More than that, storytelling can turn something ordinary into something interesting.

As a brand storyteller and comedian, Ron Tite uses storytelling every day. He’s helped notable brands tell their story. He tells stories on blogs and podcasts and on stage at stand up gigs and at conferences. And he’s changed his personal narrative, the story of what he does, multiple times. In fact, storytelling is so much of a habit that he answers every interview question he’s asked with a narrative. 

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How to turn ‘no’ into ‘nothing personal’

turning-noImage of employee feeling shamed by boss from Shutterstock.

The working world is rife with rejection. From “we really like your work, but…” to flat out “no,” It can really keep you down. Author Victoria Carnaghan has tips on how to gracefully turn no into next time.

Whether you’re a graphic designer, copywriter, illustrator or other creative type lucky enough to produce your passion in exchange for a living wage, the delight of doing what you love comes with a downside: you have to put your heart on the line every time you present your work.

Unlike an accountant who’s submitted the wrong tax form, this was a piece of you, and you’re it’s being turned down. Rejected. Continue reading

How to find work you love – in 4 easy steps

JK0910 How to find work you lovePhoto of businessman working by the beach from Shutterstock.

Given how much of our lives are spent in the workplace, you want to be sure that your work is going to improve your happiness levels. Everyone is looking for work that they find fulfilling; the all-too common advice being that job seekers should follow their passion, which is rather unhelpful to those who aren’t entirely sure how their passions can earn them a paycheque.

Cal Newport, Assistant Professor of computer science at Georgetown University, doesn’t just find this “follow your passion” advice unhelpful, he believes it is much more dangerous than that. In his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Newport suggests that there are four rules that must be followed to ensure that you find work that you find fulfilling and increases your chances of happiness. Continue reading

Yes, Creativity Can Be Taught

FreshGigs Can Creativity Be Taught

Creativity is a curious thing. It’s a quality that some people just seem to have, while others sigh in discontent and express out loud, “I wish I was more creative.” But those who do appear creative, and who work in creative fields, don’t wish—they do. Every artist, every photographer, every chef, every writer had (and has) to put in thousands of hours of hard work to make a living out of their creative passions. Working in a creative field doesn’t happen out of nowhere—like any other job or hobby, it requires training, education, application, and, of course, deep-rooted interest.

If you’ve ever wished to become more creative, here’s what you need to know: creativity isn’t in a safe that only a select few people know the combination to. Yes, creativity can be taught.

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Easy Tips to Boost Your Creativity


Creativity is essential in your career, from putting together an eye-catching cover letter/resume package to dreaming up your next marketing campaign. But, believe it or not, it doesn’t really just come naturally to most people. It needs to be developed just like any other skill in your toolbox.

The below list was inspired from this larger list on How to Boost your Creativity

Chances are you are far more creative than you give yourself credit for, but you just don’t write down your ideas when you think of them.

1. Commit

Just like going to the gym, or getting an education, making creativity a part of your everyday life is a necessity. Setting goals, finding mentors and setting aside time on a daily basis to work on it is important.

2. Make Time

Part of committing is officially setting time aside every day, or at least every week, to work on a creative project. If your creative project consists of writing, you might consider setting aside time first thing in the morning. According to The Best Time of Day for Creative Thinking, the prefrontal cortex is most active after first waking, and subsequently, so is creative thinking. Analytical thinking, and skills such as editing, fire up as the day goes on.

3. Keep a Creativity Journal

Keep a small notebook on hand to journal all those great ideas that pop up in your head. Chances are you are far more creative than you give yourself credit for, but you just don’t write down your ideas when you think of them. And we all know inspiration strikes at weird times: on your morning commute, eating lunch or even in that weird time right before as you are drifting off to sleep (a favorite for yours truly). Write it all down. You never know what will stick. Continue reading

How To Summon Creativity & Slap “Status Quo” In The Face

“I’m just not creative.  Leave creativity to artists or musicians”

Are you one of these people?  People who feel that creativity is limited to the lottery of the gene pool?

The truth is we all have the ability to be creative.  Creativity is a muscle.  You simply have to know how to flex it.

How we try to be creative

There are endless ways people try and induce creativity.

  • Drugs
  • Exercise
  • Eating better (or worse)
  • Endless research

among many, many others.  The problem with this is that these do enhance creativity.

To a point.

I fully agree that the more clarity you have from eating better and exercising will help you be more creative.  It also goes without saying that a high amount of experience in very different fields (online marketing, violin playing, Mandarin speaking and windsurfing, for example) will only help creativity.

How is this done?  It sounds counter intuitive, but the best way to enhance creativity is to constrain yourself.

The problem is that this approach is inconsistent.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  So how does one solve the problem of inconsistent creativity?  What is present when creativity is rolling?  What’s missing when you can’t be creative for the life of you?

The problem of choice

A major block to creative work is the problem of too much choice.  With the internet giving us answers in seconds and businesses catering to our every obscure need, creativity seems to be less important than it was in the past.  Solutions to our problems are seconds away, so it doesn’t make sense to try and be creative. Continue reading

How to be More Creative at Work

I sat down to write today, but couldn’t find the words. So instead, I began cleaning out my closets and purging old clothes that I haven’t worn in a year. An hour later, I was moving my couch and sweeping underneath, then dusting my TV, and putting on clean bedding.

It was then that I remembered I needed a clean, uncluttered environment to help me think creatively.

This applies to my house and also to my desk at work. I often find that when my desk is cluttered, so is my mind.  A little cleaning, organizing, and some quick feng shui helps my creativity flow much easier. And other things that need to be accomplished no longer distract me. Out of sight, out of mind.

After thirteen years in the advertising and marketing game, I’ve come to recognize the important factors necessary for my personal creative process. I need to remove all the obstacles. Clear the clutter. Turn off the television. Log out of Facebook and Twitter. And just focus my attention to get ‘er done.

It’s a funny thing, creativity. It can sneak up on you when you least expect it, or disappear right when you need it most. I decided to reach out to my network to find out what makes them feel more creative on the job. Everyone I spoke with seemed to have different methods of unlocking and super-charging their creativity.

Doug Bramah, Creative Director in Toronto, and Mark Busse, owner of Industrial Brand both gave similar insights; that heading out of the office and finding a change of scenery is the best way to reunite with your creativity.

Most agencies have these open work environments; they’re noisy and there’s a lot of distraction. Sometimes that stifles the creative process.

Says Bramah.

Parks, coffee shops, restaurants – just changing where you do your work can make a big impact.”

But not all of us can come and go as we please. Continue reading