Habits are a funny thing. Sometimes we want to kick them and other times we want to form them. I’m always in fluctuation between the two. Right now I’m desperately trying to drink more water during the day. I religiously drink coffee every morning, so you’d think remembering to water myself would be a cinch.
Just like anything, there are good and not-so-good habits when it comes to creativity. Keeping a sketchbook and people watching (a favorite pastime) are fun habits and can do wonders for creative thinking.
Other habits simply make you lazy and turn off your brain. That’s not exactly the recipe for developing imaginative ideas. For instance, I have a habit of driving the same way to work, which literally keeps me from seeing new sights. Remember the scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation when they keep driving past Big Ben? That’s me…constant loop.
It’s easy to fall into routines. When you do them long enough, you create a well-worn path that deepens into a rut, making it harder to get out. I never want to be the kind of person who “phones it in” when it comes to offering creative ideas.
So I’m in the process of assessing my habits, and I’ve decided that instead of kicking stale habits, I’m going to shake them up. (Thanks for the motivation, T. Swift.)
Here are a few ideas:
- Rotate artwork and photos in my office. The family pics don’t have to rest on the desk. I can move them to a side table and bring a fun piece of art from the living room into my office. It’s gettin’ crazy up in here.
- Sit in the visitor’s chair. My office has several chairs reserved for guests. Why not become a guest in my own space? I wonder what new ideas I’ll think of from the other side of the desk?
- Use a different restroom. Since “bio breaks” tend to be the only times I actually leave my seat (another bad habit), the least I can do is head to the next closest bathroom in the building and potentially run into new people along the way.
- Take a short break (other than going to the bathroom) and talk to someone new – on purpose.
- Listen to a new station on Pandora. This means giving up Blind Pilot and JT for a while, but I’m okay with that. I have a feeling there are a few country singers out there who have a lesson or two about life I could use. Consider this student “present”.
- Pull out a sketchpad instead of the laptop. I enjoy sketching, but when it comes to thinking of ideas for work, I tend to lean on the computer – literally. I’m going to kick it old school and sketch my next round of thoughts. Sketchnoting, here I come.
- Use different color ink. Black and blue are for bruises. I’m going to mix it up with orange or green and just see what happens. Maybe nothing, but at least my notes will be prettier.
- Go outside and park it on a bench for a few minutes. Nothing beats stale ideas like some fresh air and new surroundings. It seems simple, but I don’t get outside nearly enough during the day. My Fitbit would agree with me, too.
I hope you’ll join me in trying some of these ideas or thinking of a few new ones yourself. Please share!
In the meantime, have an enormously creative day.