Do you find it difficult to concentrate, to be creative, and to avoid distractions. Or do you start something only then not to finish it?
If that describes you, don’t worry you’re not alone. A lot of people struggle with sitting down away from any distractions and to focus on a specific task or on completing something. I know I struggle with focusing and am easily distracted.
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by” Douglas Adams
As for trying to be creative, well I’ll let you into a little secret. My colleagues at work often laugh at the tell tale signs of me trying to be creative when writing a new post or working on a new landing page; it’s the fact they can see me staring at a blank wall for ages, and then making endless cups of tea or coffee for everyone.
So why is creativity so important?
Well for a start, if you’re a blogger or online entrepreneur, you’re flexing those “brain muscles” every day by producing content for your blog, a Facebook post, or by trying to acquire new customers.
Think about how much more you could achieve if you could boost your productivity and creativity and feel happier as a result of starting and finishing something.
5 tips for boosting your creativity
So how do you overcome the struggle with creativity and productivity? Here are five practical tips to boost your creativity and productivity.
Creativity Tip #1 Have a clear goal
Creative entrepreneur and fashion forward thinker, Ferdinando Verderi, said that an individual’s ideas are only as good as their ambitions.
With ambitions come goals. Having a clear goal gives you a higher chance of successfully completing it.
Turn your audacious goals into manageable milestones.
But don’t just think about the breaking the goal down, write it down.
A study by Psychology professor Dr Gail Matthews showed that those who wrote down their goals were 33% more successful at achieving them as opposed to those who just thought about it.
Creativity Tip #2 Use your time wisely
Every day we bombarded with a mishmash of noise and distraction, emails, phone calls, and the internet is the worst distraction. Sitting down and concentrating on just one thing is hard.
So one of the best things to do is to schedule blocks of work, and avoid doing anything else.
One good way to do this is to schedule work into 30 minute blocks.
The timer function on your phone works really well for this. Set it to 30 minutes and then focus on doing one thing until the alarm goes off. Then take a break for 10 minutes, stretch your legs or go something to relax before going back to do the next 30 minute block.
You’re not restricting your creativity, your boosting your focus and removing the distractions.
Creativity Tip #3 Be a risk taker
Creative people fail, fact. Really creative people fail often, fact.
Study after study as shown that the most creative people are also the ones with the most output. It isn’t that they have more creative ideas than the rest of us, is just that they aren’t afraid to put a lot of ideas “out there” and to have a high error rate compensate.
You need to accept that the first version of whatever you make will suck. You have to make a prototype or first draft before you can improve it. The sooner you embrace imperfection, the sooner you can start to fail, and the sooner you’ll feel more comfortable with failing and being more creative.
Albert Einstein is obviously one of the greatest creative scientific minds in history, but I bet many of you didn’t know that he a big risk taker. Not only was he an avid sailor who couldn’t swim, but he loved to sail his dinghy into storms and had to be frequently rescued.
The real point is that there is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity.
Creativity Tip #4 Let your mind run free
Sometime it’s hard to know where to start when you’re trying to write that brilliant email subject line or facing a blank screen when writing the next blog post.
You just need that one spark of inspiration to ignite all that creative energy.
Here are four easy ways to help find that inspiration.
Start with an image – you normally write your post then find the image. If you’re stuck spend 10 mins looking for a great image, then go back to writing the post. The image will stimulate your brain to make connections and to think creatively.
Brainstorm on paper – a blank screen or piece of paper is intimidating. It is much easier to just start writing a constant stream from your consciousness and then go back and edit something. The other alternative is to do a mind map with the subject in the middle.
Read some news – if can get inspiration from reading some of the latest news reports
Do something different for 10 minutes – take a break, go for a walk, or take a shower. You’ll often get ideas when you are not consciously thinking about them, just remember to make a note or email them to yourself before their forgotten.
Creativity Tip #5 Ritualize your creativity
Ritualize your creativity is a fancy way of saying find what works for you in terms of being creative.
What time and day and place are you most creative, are you an early riser that is most creative in the morning, do you work best in a co-working space or at the kitchen table?
Once you’ve found what works best for you, don’t wast time, set up a recurring time in your calendar.
What did you do to boost your creativity last time you struggled for inspiration?