“Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.” ~George Scialabba, book critic, essayist.
Imagine your life and work infused with creativity. It’s not only possible, it’s available to us with only a little effort.
Anyone can have more fun while increasing their creative and imaginative muscles. And it doesn’t take a trip to some fancy creativity camp in Sedona, Ariz., or any new software or hardware for our laptops.
All it requires is 15 minutes a day and embracing and acknowledging ourselves as creative people who are opening up to our ideas, interpretations and imaginative approaches to work and life.
Break out the poetry, the balloons, the games. Here’s my 15 ways to increase your creativity in 15 minutes or less:
1. Take a walk around the block. Take time to appreciate the beauty, the energy, the surprises there.
2. Brew a new flavor of tea, and then savor it away from your desk.
3. Meditate. If you are able, use a phrase that affirms your creativity.
4. Browse in your favorite shop for the brightest, the cheapest, the funniest item.
5. Play with your dog or cat — or child. A quick game or a run around the yard will revive your spirits.
6. List your creative projects and successes. Take a few minutes to look back at a favorite project, poem or piece of work – it will reinforce your talents and confidence — and encourage you to use them wisely today.
7. Watch the clouds go by your window. Better yet, go outside and locate the cloud dragon.
8. Read three poems aloud. Or one chapter in some trashy novel or escapist book.
9. Call an inspired or upbeat friend for a creativity chat.
10. Pull out your magic wand or your magic feather (ok, a colorful pencil will work too). Be a wizard for 10 minutes.
11. Take a new route to work. Take a different street to go to the gym. Vary your way to the coffee shop. Enjoy the journey and don’t worry if you get a little lost. It’s part of your creative path.
12. If you work from home or an office with a locker room, take a shower and sing something silly. Have notebook handy afterward for great thoughts ideas that show up.
13. Develop a daily ritual or mantra that underscores your creative abilities. Write it down. Post it on your desktop, bulletin board, mirror. Doodle it on your to do list or legal pad.
14. Engage your brain in something frivolous. Here’s two possibilties: A: Which cartoon character is most like me? My boss? My best friend? And how could I make one cartoon show that captures what’s happening today, but more funny? B: Which super powers do I really really want? And which super hero really is the one I most resemble? What would I be doing right now if I were X Man or Wonder Woman?
15. Sign up for a class at the Y, Parks & Rec, the local community college or elsewhere – something new and foreign and surprising. Something that will require effort and put you in new spaces with different kinds of people. (I admit: The class will take more tan 15 minutes – but it could bring you so much inspiration and newness, worth the time investment in creative dividends.)
Only a couple of these ideas requires you to spend more time hunched over your computer and staring at the same piles and projects on your desk. Instead, I’m focused on activities that encourage you to move out of the workspace and into your new groove.
Leave work behind for 10 or 15 minutes and your brain opens up to fresh perspectives and possibilities. That’s why my favorite creativity refresher means taking a walk outside and embracing whatever and whoever I find there.
Before I head out for a few blocks in the sunshine, I’ll close with this from PBS journalist and great thinker Bill Moyers: “Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.”