Let’s Get Creative (If We Have the Time …)

PUT ON THOSE THINKING CAPS, it’s time to talk creativity! How do you flick on that creative switch when you’re focused on 483 non-creative, deadline-centric tasks per day?

PUT ON THOSE THINKING CAPS, it’s time to talk creativity!

“But Dani,” you might say, “Your blog is literally called Creative Caffeine, isn’t that what you always talk about?”

Yeah, I know bud, but I don’t usually talk about creativity itself. That is, how to foster it, how to flick on that switch so the creative cup runneth over, particularly when you’re focused on 483 non-creative, deadline-centric tasks per day, as most of us are.

Even in marketing positions like mine, where creativity is an essential in the day-to-day, it can be nearly impossible to find the time, place and stimulation to mine those brain gems. Take me, for example. I’m a fraud. I write this blog supposedly about all things creative, but I only post once a month because I never feel like I have the creativity to spare or the time to find more. I didn’t even come up with this topic, editor-in-chief of Target Marketing Thorin McGee did!

So how do you feed your right brain in a work day full of left-brained tasks? Do you set aside time for it? Do you have a playlist you listen to, or a podcast, or a calendar of inspirational quotes that you go back to time and time again when you need that extra spark?

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This image was a free result for “creativity”, but also it reminds me of that one episode of Black Mirror. Bonus.

Personally, I often just have to hope I can find the time to completely zone out and/or doodle, usually while listening to a showtunes playlist, for a little while, because that’s honestly my most successful brainstorming method. I have to disengage before I can find a way to be engaging, or something like that. Unfortunately, that opportunity is rarer than desired.

Fortune published a great post just last week, “Why You Can’t Force Creativity at Work,” offering a few alternatives to the “sit at your desk crying and avoiding your other work until something comes to you” method, such as:

  • Encourage Outside Interests
  • Provide Flexible Deadlines (This one is KEY in my world!)
  • Allow for an “ideas before measurement” mindset

I found another great article on Huffington Post from a couple of years ago, but its points feel evergreen: “Fostering a Culture of Creativity in the Workplace.” One suggestion it offers is to take cues from classic improv theater games, like every theater kid’s favorite “Yes, and …” As a former (is it something you ever really grow out of?) theater kid myself, this one’s definitely on my To Try list.

Oh, obviously, I also rely on coffee. While some sources will tell you caffeine stunts creativity, this article from the Atlantic gives a lot of science-y reasons those sources are wrong and confirmation bias leads me to believe it.

So how about you? Do you use any of these ideas, or have your own methods? Do you find it difficult to balance the scales between creativity and productivity? As always, let me know.

Talk to you in July!