I have a question for you: Why did you get into the business of being a designer in the first place? It was because you’re a creative, right?! Too often, all of those things that are critical for running a business can keep us from flexing our creativity muscles – and that creativity is actually key to our business. That can seem like a vicious circle because day-to-day business can be a creativity killer, but without being creative, you aren’t going to have any business.
Being more creative, really delivering the best designs that you possibly can, is going to prove that you’re worth what you charge. It’s going to bring you new clients, it will get you published, and it will help you expand your business so you can hire more people, which then allows you more time to be creative.
Designers at ALL levels still work at this. You don’t just wake up one day and realize that you’ve peaked creatively and so you no longer have to push yourself! People at the top of their game really have to work even harder to continuously deliver something that is fresh and inspired!
So how do you kick your creativity into high gear when you’re super-stressed and overwhelmed with the business side of your company? Well I’ve got 5 tips to get you going:
1. Seek out inspiration. To be creative, you have to be INSPIRED. That can be different for every one of you, but set aside time to find your inspiration! That can be going to a museum, traveling, going to a fashion show, or looking at art books and magazines that are not the usual shelter publications. But set aside time for this – don’t let it be negotiable.
2. Schedule creative time. Yes, I am aware that sometimes you aren’t going to “feel like” being creative, but if you don’t block out time to focus on creativity, it’s never going to happen. You have to set aside time to let the right side of your brain, the creative side, take over. Once the left side of your brain – that’s the analytical side – is engaged – it takes about 15 minutes of a break to get the creative side of your brain to kick back in! So you can’t switch back and forth. That’s why I set a specific time to go into my workroom and create designs. My team knows that I cannot be interrupted! And I turn off my phone and my email – that keeps me from switching from one side of the brain to the other, which really prevents me from creating my best and most creative work!
3. Trick yourself. Science is on your side here! Research has shown that you can stimulate that right side, or creative side, of your brain. Laughing triggers that side of your brain and makes it more active, and looking at the sky blue color does the same thing. It stimulates the creative center of your brain. Here’s a crazy trick that works, too: Squeeze a ball in your left hand for 45 seconds, and then repeat that 3 times. That creates a reaction in the right side of your brain and gets it all woken up and firing off ideas.
4. Get outside. Getting fresh air – a great hit of oxygen – does two things for you. First, studies show that it will fire up that creativity center in your brain. Second, it’s also a fabulous place to find inspiration!
5. Don’t lose focus! But here’s a warning – do not ever look at your email while you’re trying to be creative. Reading makes the left side of the brain take over, and you don’t want that to happen when you want the right side of your brain to be at its best! So keep your email closed, don’t try to text, and don’t start surfing Facebook. Stay focused!
Use these 5 tips to fire up your creativity and rediscover your passion for this business. I want you to exercise your creative muscle just like you get exercise for your body. So get out there and hit your creative zone!