3 Tips to help unleash your creativity
Thinking creatively can be a struggle — we get that. But fortunately, we have a couple tips to get you back in the groove.
1. Take one thing at a time
Multitasking can be a virtue, but it might not be the best thing for productivity. Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Illinois found in a field study that distractions cost participants 20 minutes before they resumed their tasks. They found that it took an average of 10 minutes to address an alert, plus another 10 minutes before they resumed the original task at hand. To make things worse, an earlier study had found that it was even more difficult to resume a task if it was a heavier mental lift.
2. Learn to love restrictions
Researchers from Rider University found in a series of studies that participants produced more creative answers when given arbitrary rules. All participants were tasked with writing greeting cards, but some were asked to include at least one word from a specific list. As it turns out, participants with this restriction generated more creative answers than those who didn’t. Even better, they still maintained their creativity when they were then asked to repeat the task without the constraining list. There’s a major caveat however: The study’s methodology relied on a panel of independent judges to evaluate creativity. But the next time you’re stuck, it might help to set up a couple rules. Try it out and let us know how it works.
3. Keep grinding away
Writer’s block is no joke. But… maybe it’s not the obstacle we think it is? In his column for The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman gave his take on psychologist Paul Silvia’s understanding that it follows from overthinking. He concludes, “The most important step in overcoming writer’s block, then, may be cutting it down to size: grasping that it’s just a situation, not an underlying condition, and that it’s solved, by definition, the moment you write anything.” In short: Get to writing.
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