Four ways to be more creative

by Rich Wells
Posted on 25 February 2014
read time: 3 minutes

Creativity is much more than visual design and messiness (unfortunately one of my weaknesses). I believe we're all meant to be creative, that it isn't a role for the few, nor something only agencies should get hired in to do. Creativity can make life exciting, solve problems, deepen relationships and make the world a better place to live in.

As a designer, and someone who does a lot of drawing, I find it's easy to be labelled 'creative' (especially when your job title is 'Creative Director'). Thankfully at Yoomee it's not all down to me as I'm part of a close-knit, diverse team who look at the world differently and want to do interesting things.

So how can we be more creative? It's much easier to stick with what you know than do something new, especially when you feel you're stuck in a rut.

Here are my 4 top creativity tips

Make some space

It's hard to do things differently or find solutions to problems when you're sitting at your desk checking emails. We need space to be creative, space to think and explore ideas without being constantly interrupted. John Cleese, in this retro video, talks a lot about the idea of devoting specific time to creativity. It's well worth a watch.
Smart phone

Work out where and when you feel most creative and block out time accordingly. For me, I'm at my sharpest early in the mornings so I try to focus on my most interesting work then, and in the afternoons, when I'm feeling less alert, I do more admin related tasks. I also set alarms for when to stop – breaking work down into small chunks definitely helps. If you don't make time and space for creativity it simply won't happen.

Want some quick space?
Turn off notifications and popups on your phone — you don‘t need those distracting red dots in your life.

Do something different

It's funny how the best ideas come when you're not hard at work. I work four days a week and take every Tuesday off to look after my daughter. I've set up a blog which tells the story of us trying to do something different together every week, and it's turning out to be a whole lot of fun. Although childcare isn't always relaxing, a day away from screens refreshes and inspires me like nothing else.

Take a break from the screen
11am is stretch-o'clock in the Yoomee office. Good for the mind and posture, even if you look a bit silly.
Great artists steal - Steve Jobs

Look around you and get inspired

Creativity isn't a mysterious, magical thing that just happens. We're all influenced by the world around us and very few things on this planet are truly original. Look at other people's work, copy what they do, work out how they do it, and make something your own. Don't rip off other people, but do remix their work – copy, transform and combine to make new things. The more diverse your inspiration, the better.

Think Apple is original?
This series has some great examples of remixes in music, film and technology.
I can't do this but I'm going to do it anyway

Have fun and don't be too hard on yourself

I don't know about you, but most of the time when I try to be creative, I battle with the "I can't do this/this won't work" feeling. From chatting to others I know that this isn't unique to me.

Being genuinely creative is hard; it's much easier to stick with what you know and what you're comfortable with. Try to think of as many stupid, wacky ideas as possible. Don't start with why it won't work, or what your critics might think. Remind yourself that failure isn't the worst option – much better to try something and learn from your failures, than to sit at your desk checking emails.

Those are just a few things that help and inspire me to be creative. There are many more — I'm aware this is a quick skim over a vast topic. In fact you could write a whole blog series on creativity, and lots of people do.

How about you? How do you stay creative? Please do write a comment below or send me a tweet — I'd love to hear what works for you.

Posted on 25 February 2014 - By Rich Wells
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