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Creativity: it’s all down to you

Creativity: it’s all down to you

‘Stop doing work and do something creative for yourself’.

It’s not an order you’d expect to hear as part of a training course, but it’s what I’ve been telling people as part of Hotwire’s creativity workshops and it’s absolutely bloody crucial.

Almost on a daily basis we’re asked to be ‘more creative’. This asinine request shows a lack of understanding of a whole variety of things:

  • Any sense of a creative process
  • Time pressures
  • Whether it’s raining
  • Trump
  • The health of my cat

Still the requests come pouring in. Creativity has never before been so important in the workplace. Everyone from comms professionals to tax lawyers are being faced with a constant demand for creative solutions and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. So how the hell do we ensure that when we’re again asked to pull the creative rabbit out of the hat, we’re not just grabbing air and dust?

Well, creativity demands regular maintenance and pampering. It’s the Kim Kardashian of talents. What’s more this particular talent doesn’t necessarily improve in the work place. Sure, you will learn a few tips here and there and most ideas are built on the shoulders of others, so your colleagues will form part of your creative learning, but actually it comes down to you.

You need to set time aside for yourself to top up your creative reservoir. Most of the time, when the door shuts at work the last thing we want to do is engage our brain. Yet it’s exactly at that point we should be thinking about nourishing and conditioning our creative brains. Our spare time is where we need to apply some real discipline and focus on things that will help to exercise our creativity.

It’s like being faced with a choice between quinoa and a Big Mac. We know the quinoa will keep us more satisfied for longer and do us some good. The Big Mac, although an instant hit of pleasure will ultimately leave us feeling like shit in an hour and not have done anything for our life span.

You could go home, sit in your pants and play Fifa. Or you could take an hour out of your spare time to learn how to take better photos, paint, write, visit that art gallery, watch that play, twang that guitar. Whatever it takes to spend some focused time on ‘practicing creativity’. Doing it for you rather than for your job will help to cement it as a routine and something that eventually comes naturally to you.

You’re never going to stop people asking you ‘to be more creative’ but you can ensure you have some creative currency in the bank when those people come to cash their cheques.

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