The world has never needed creativity more than it does right now. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us into our homes and anxiety levels riding high, we need creative endeavours to occupy our time and help take the focus away from the scariness of the outside world.
Which of course begs the question: How can we stay creative while working from home, where distractions and diversions rule the day?
Here are a few ways you can stay creative no matter how much time you’re spending away from the office.
Recreate and where possible, maintain, a schedule/routine
A schedule or routine is probably the most important activity we can implement to boost our creativity.
Most of our daily routines, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been turned upside down. What we might have normally done to get our creative juices going – such as going into the office or getting together with a friend for coffee – is no longer available to us in a pandemic world.
But being creative requires structure. It involves practice and, like any muscle, you need to train it regularly and you need to set yourself up for being successful at it.
That’s why we need to create new conditions and habits for optimal creative thinking.
A good place to start? Set aside the same time every day for creativity, then start “ritualizing” the process. For example: You might start each creativity session by making yourself a special latte. This sort of ritualization can train your brain to recognize when it is time to shift your thinking towards creative endeavours, leaving aside more “urgent” matters such as a to-do list.
Being creative is all about tackling big, hard challenges. This is one of the best ways to arm yourself to face those conundrums that only a sustained creative effort can break down.
Find a way to bring others into the creative process
One of the unfortunate side effects of working at home is that our accidental moments of human interaction – the times when we stop and chat with co-workers in the lunch room or run into a friend on the street – evaporate almost entirely.
Instead, we’re relying on scheduled video calls and social media posts to interact with others – not exactly a great tool for spontaneous creative conversations.
An important component of staying creative while working from home is to find a way to bring others into your creative process.
Remember: Creativity is collaboration. Your ideas will only become better the more you share them.
Find a way to recreate your interpersonal interactions virtually while working from home.
Create before you consume
Being at home 24/7, it’s easier than ever to check social media, endlessly browse the web or binge-watch our favourite (or not so favourite) TV shows.
Not only that, there is a global pandemic going on. We can all be forgiven for getting sucked into a vortex of information in these uncertain, and frequently changing times.
The problem? These are surefire ways to kill our creative instincts.
When we become consumers, we stop creating. We become an audience member, judge or critic of what other people are doing. Instead of thinking independently we are immediately influenced by others, which undermines our creative mindset.
This is something Chase Jarvis talks about in his book “Creative Calling”. Creating something gives you an endorphin rush which can set up the rest of your day: You’ll only want to create more, to recreate the feeling you got in the morning, as the day goes on.
By creating something, whether it’s big or small, we can hugely influence our daily creative capacity far more than we ever could by consuming.
Be your own inspiration for the day – create!
Take a break
The opportunities for getting out into the world are getting slimmer and slimmer as the days go by. Before we might have walked or biked to work, went out to grab a quick bite at lunch or met some friends after work on a patio.
Those days are gone. Now, if we want to get out of our house, we need to make a deliberate effort to do so.
That’s why it’s important that we get some fresh air and quiet time into our lives.
We need to give our brains time to take a break and think about nothing. How many times have we heard people say that they have their best ideas in the shower, when our brains are working less hard?
Especially during times when we are stressed (as many people are now, understandably) we need to recreate these opportunities to let us stop and breathe for a few minutes… and see where our minds take us.
People around the world have had to sacrifice their regular routines to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Your creativity doesn’t need to be something you forfeit. By implementing the above techniques you can ensure you stay creative at a time when you need it most.