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Don’t get my wrong here, I love my job – probably more then any other job I’ve had in my life. Even though I often find it hard to explain what I do, I always tell people it’s the best job ever. I’ve been a creative person for as long as I can remember. In fact, I think we are all pretty darn creative – some of us just choose to make a career out of those skills. However, there are days when my creativity and inspiration are nowhere to be found. Today was one of those days. This time of year my to-do list seems never ending, yet there are times I just can’t seem to get a darn thing done. Whether my brain is focused on something else or I’m just a ball of tired, unmotivated weirdness, all I can accomplish is eating every last thing in my fridge and watching Ellen videos on YouTube. (Yes, this has happened on one too many occasions.)
While highly entertaining, watching Ellen isn’t going to get my work done. Plus, being a one-man-show, all that work will be sitting there waiting for me the next day.
Since being creative is a huge part of what I do, I decided to come up with five tips for finding creativity during the day. This way when I’m having one of those “ball-of-tired-unmotivated-weirdness” kind of days, I’ll have at least something to turn to in order to get my creative juices flowing again.
1. Gather, even when you’re not looking.
I’ve found that when I’m trying to come up with a project or idea it’s usually not going to happen in that moment. So I’ve started to gather inspiration everywhere, even when I’m not looking for it.
Thankfully I usually have my phone on me when I’m out and about so snapping pictures is a piece of cake. To take this a step further, when I find something that really inspires me or relates to a project I’m working on, I actually print the picture. That way my inspiration doesn’t get lost among the thousands of picture on my phone. It’s right there at my fingertips.
2. Create an inspiration board
Now, what do you do with all of those pictures? Recently I created a bulletin board for my office. With the evolution of Pinterest I’ve changed how and where I keep things that inspire me. Having a dedicated space in my office to pin up pictures, fabric swatches, or magazine tear sheets gives me a place to go to (other than the Internet) when I need a creativity infusion.
3. Get off the Internet.
Speaking of the Internet … Clearly, I am smitten with Pinterest. I also love the blogs I follow, and I may or may not have an unhealthy interest in Ellen videos. Nothing is more inspiring, however, than getting off the computer. Whether I’m at an antique store, taking a walk, or hanging out with my friends, that’s where I’m most likely to find my best and most creative ideas.
4. Try working on something else.
This is key for me. There are days when I am so bogged down by one project or trying to think of an idea for another project that I literally can’t focus on anything else. Huge workflow killer. When this happens, I usually end up getting nothing accomplished. I know it’s kind of basic, but lately I’ve been trying to force myself to work on something else. Even if there is a deadline at stake, sometimes it’s best to just walk away from something for an hour and focus on something else like emptying the dishwasher or organizing a drawer. This way, I’m killing two birds with one stone, I’m staying productive and it give my brain a break to restart my creativity.
5. Clear the clutter.
As you know, I’m in the process of creating a workspace for myself. This has been one of the greatest tools in helping my creative side. Before, supplies and props were scattered wherever I could squeeze them in. Now, I have a dedicated place for props. Eventually, each piece of furniture will house specific things. Basically, everything will be in its place. So, when creativity does strike it won’t be put on hold while I go searching for the right cake stand or that red striped washi tape.
This goes for paperwork and images as well. Instead of having loose paperwork everywhere, I’ve been using my printer to scan important documents and neatly file them on my computer.
I even started scanning tear sheets from magazines and catalogs that have inspiration for future projects. Then, instead of trying to remember which magazine or catalog that really cool idea was in, I can just find the image that I scanned in the “Really Cool Ideas” folder on my desktop. Pretty ingenious, right?
While there are many ways to hone your creativity and stay productive, these are just five things that have been working for me. What do you do to enhance your creativity?
I know how you feel about try to explain to someone what you do for a living. When I tell people I blog for a living they don’t understand! I actually use that printer and its great!
I’m inspired to put my cork board to use as an inspiration board. Thinking of ideas for starting a new business and love the idea of keeping the cool inspirations visible.
Love! Being among items and pictures that make your heart sing totally gets you out of the funk. I am currently working on my pretty room in the basement. Next up is either a backdrop holder for the wall or an inspiration board.
Love this post! Thank you for all of the great ideas! I’m currently setting up a “studio” area in my house and I will be putting a few of your ideas to immediate use.
Well, the first thing I read was “fat” and am repeating a prior comment to you that I have no clue how you stay slim without eating all the wonderful food made.
How do you get rid of really old magazines? I still have binders full of ideas not wanting to get rid of them. We are talking the entire mag, every time one is read I find something new to think about. They are my friends. The newer mags are another deal with so many ads now, easily done as you suggested.
And tons of folders on my PC, but these really need to be cleaned out. Which can ruin creativity spending time doing something that isn’t that much fun. But like making my bed, can make my day a whole lot nicer.
Enjoy your holidays and thanks for a fun year with you,
Sandy in colorado
Such great tips and love the inspiration board. You’re right, inspiration is all around us – we just need to get out and see it!! Happy holidays and all the best in the new year!
Great ideas! I have found the idea of switching tasks especially useful, usually when what I am working on seems more of a chore than a pleasure. Love your blog and pins, and wish you the best of luck for 2014!