5 Routines to Enhance Creativity and Imagination

See also: Creative Thinking

When you think about what it means to be creative, some of the first thoughts probably include being a good drawer, painter, photographer, or other form of artist.

However, being creative can manifest in many different forms, and you use this skill daily without even knowing.

Being creative is a skill that you can strengthen with practice, rather than a talent you’re born with.

“Creative Confidence” by David M. Kelley and Tom Kelley is a book published in 2013 that discusses the many ways in which designers, students, businessmen, and everyone in between, can express their creative side in different ways.

Where an entrepreneur uses their creativity to concoct a competitive business model, a designer must produce a product that meets consumer needs. Parents use their creativity every day to entertain their small children, teachers use it to get their point across, students use it when it comes to time management, and you can use it somewhere in your day as well.

It’s important to keep those creative juices flowing and strengthen your artistic ability as you would enhance a muscle in the gym.

You don’t have to go back to school, or study pieces of art, to achieve creative confidence, as the Kelley brothers call it. If you take a little bit of time out of your week to carry out these five routines, you’ll find yourself being more imaginative in your everyday life and you might eliminate that stubborn brain fog which is holding you back.

1. Read

A common misconception is that smart people read. In fact, this stereotype is half true if flipped around. People that read aren’t necessarily smarter, however, they definitely gain creativity.

Regardless of whether you choose to read Harry Potter or National Geographic, you’re putting others ideas in your head and sparking your thoughts around the topic.

  • Fantasy reading constructs images in your mind, feelings towards characters, and an emotional connection off the page.
  • News articles are thought-provoking, surprising, informative, and sometimes share-worthy.

Either way, reading works the mind and pushes it to see and understand things without physically being shown. Incorporating reading into your week will inevitably increase your brains capacity for creativity.

2. Enjoy your shower

Science has proven that some of your best ideas come when you’re relaxed.

With the busy lives that most people lead, the most relaxing times of the day are your start/end of the day hot shower or the moment your head hits the pillow at night. Since going to bed consists mostly of drifting off or late night news, the shower is your best time to gather your thoughts in peace.

That “ah ha” moment comes when you’re able to truly think with no interruptions. Concluding or beginning your day with 15 minutes of sustained thinking sparks ideas and creative thoughts. Take the time to reflect on your interactions, problems you encountered, and solutions you can propose.

3. Visit new places

When you see things for the first time, you tend to take it in deeper than you would when passing the buildings you drive by every day on your commute to work.

This is called the “travelers mind”, a term coined by the Kelley brothers.

Having a traveler mindset all the time opens your attention to points you would normally miss. Many creative thoughts stem from designs, procedures, or processes you see throughout your lifetime. The brain can twist these copied ideas into ways to solve other problems creatively.

Regardless of whether you travel the world and see different architecture and cultures, or take a visit to your local park, changing your scenery can help improve your creative skills. Consider visiting a Disney World for the first time. You can bet that you’re going to notice all the colors, shapes, designs, décor, hospitality, and the different types of people around you.

If you went through life as if it were the first time visiting Disney World, you would be much more observant and, therefore, creative.

4. Retain what you learn

With technology at our fingertips and smartphones in everyone’s pockets, it’s easy to get an answer to almost any question without doing a lot of digging.

Because of this, it’s not necessary for people to learn the information they need to know at that moment or remember for an hour-long test later that week. Those that have creative minds are often filled with knowledge. They use what they know to solve problems, spark conversation, teach, write, speak, etc. Usually, people search the web for a temporary solution rather than long-term information. Make retaining what you learn a part of your routine. Read the Internet articles twice, take notes on the TED talk, or discuss the documentary with your friends.

5. Ask questions

Rather than just hearing what is said in class, at the dinner table, or at book club, really listen.

Listening doesn’t only include hearing what the person has to say, but being interactive in the conversation by asking questions and deepening the dialogue.

Even if you understand everything that’s being said, ask questions like “Why do you think that happened?” or “What else do you know about this topic?” Getting a better grasp on other people’s emotions, thought processes and intuitions deepens your own creative process.

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See Creativity as a Lifelong Process

Your creativity doesn’t have to be something that diminishes as you get older.

When you’re a kid, everything is chalked up to your imagination. But as you age, the world becomes a bit more black and white, and filled with routine rather than spur of the moment inventiveness and original thoughts.

It’s hard to break the misconception that creativity means something more than artistry, but everyone can learn and fine-tune the skill.

Even for the busiest of people, following these five steps can be manageable and effective.

Remaining creative doesn’t entail taking courses or reaching your inner child: you just need to keep your mind working.

The more you look at the world as if it’s all brand new, the less likely you are to fall into mundane routines that kill creativity and imagination. What a world it would be if everyone accepted things the way they were and had no creative solutions to our many problems.

Without creativity, innovation stops, no one keeps entertained, relationships die out, and life would be boring!

About the Author

This post was submitted by CogniTune, LLC, a supplement company specializing in smarter ways to live a healthier and more productive life.