Harnessing Your Creativity at Work

The longing to be more creative is something most of us want in our daily work lives. We want to create new and exciting opportunities as well as apply our creativity to every project we work on. Thankfully, being creative at work is not impossible — nor is it difficult — regardless of your industry or role. Steve Jobs once said that the only way to do great work is to love what you do, and this article discusses how to do just that

Hold brainstorming meetings.

One of the most important things to remember is that creativity is rarely harnessed alone, especially if your job is team-focused. Holding biweekly (or monthly) brainstorming meetings with the mindset of nothing being off the table is paramount to harnessing you and your team’s creativity. Brainstorming with a group not only allows your team to bounce ideas off one another, but it ensures that everyone is held accountable for carrying out the tasks discussed during the meetings.

Get visual.

Don’t just talk during these brainstorming meetings, either. Get visual. Use props like a whiteboard (or a graphical chart) and write until your hand burns. Getting visual will especially help visual learners — some people need to see it to believe it.

Turn meetings into a fun (or competitive) game.

Is your team the competitive type? If so, turn your next meeting into a competitive game. Keep it good-natured, though, and encourage your team to congratulate each other. One way to turn it into a game could be to write anonymous ideas on scraps of paper, throw them into a basket, and choose a “winner” at random. You could also vote for a winner out of the lot; this is a great way to build the confidence of your team while keeping it competitive.

Collaborate with your team members.

If you’re feeling stuck or in a rut, ask one (or several) of your coworkers what they would do in your situation. Again, creativity does not happen (or very seldom happens) in a vacuum. After all, two or more brains are better than one, and your coworkers will really appreciate that you value their opinions and ideas.

Hold “standing” meetings.

Holding “standing” meetings — meetings where everyone stands instead of sits — can really help you be creative at work. Bonus points if you hold it outside, in the middle of nature. Use nature and the difference in setting as your creative guide.

Take adequate mental health breaks.

Studies have shown that taking mental health breaks can actually boost your productivity and creativity. If time allows (and if your boss doesn’t mind), try taking periodic 10- or 15-minute walks, preferably outside. Walking boosts the endorphin production in your body and “resets” your brain, allowing you to come back to work refreshed. After all, our bodies aren’t built to be sedentary. We need to move around to stay sane. You could even bring your work buddy along, too.

Periodic walks can also get your creative juices flowing, leading to a myriad of innovative ideas. So if you’re exhausted and feeling “empty,” just go take a walk — you can’t create if the tank is on empty, no matter how much you love your job.

Above all, encourage innovative ideas from your team.

While some meetings might be boring and drab (think: quarterly finance meetings), they certainly don’t have to be. So don’t just read this article and forget it days later — put it into action. Build an action plan and make a commitment to be more creative at work. Brainstorm with your team. Work outside the office. Turn all of your upcoming meetings into a fun game. After all, creating an environment where women (and men!) can discuss their ideas, brainstorm, and listen to each other creates a powerful tool for innovation. It connects us to each other, encourages team building, inspires meaningful discussion, and paves the path for a creative work culture. And don’t forget: involve everyone in the process — don’t leave a single person out. Your coworkers and your company will be better off for it.

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