Has it been a long week? Find yourself looking at the screen, feeling your productivity slipping through your fingers? Hey, it happens. Offices might be great in lots of ways, but they’re not always conducive to creativity. And open plan offices can really kill your productivity too, interrupting your creative flow with meetings, phone calls and endless email alerts. For those of us who work in digital marketing, this can become a real issue. Our results often rely on us having a steady stream of good ideas, and time to flesh out those ideas and bring them to life.
So, we thought we’d wrack our brains (and scour the web) to bring you a helpful list of workplace creativity hacks. If you find yourself feeling creatively drained or stuck, we hope you’ll scroll through this list and find a way to reboot and recharge.
Workplace creativity hacks:
Chat to a colleague or friend
If you’ve hit a slump, or you’ve been sitting at your desk too long, you need snap yourself out of that mindset. Go and have a 10-minute brainstorming session with a colleague. Get on the phone and chat to a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while. Another perspective can give your brain a chance to breathe and will hopefully disrupt you enough, so that when you return to your desk, you’re feeling re-energised.
Take a power nap
Got space under your desk for a quick kip? I’ve known colleagues who swear by a midday siesta. If you’re in a warm country, perhaps you can set up a hammock under a tree somewhere. But if you’re stuck in chilly old England like us, you might need to get your boss to invest in one of these.
A change is as good as a holiday
Break out of your work routine – go and work in a (not too busy) café or a library for the afternoon. Sometimes being surrounded by other productive people in a new environment can be enough to help you change gears.
Test your management capability maturity and see just how creative and innovative you are!
Hit the dimmer switch
Research from two German universities has found that dimming the lights helps people to feel less inhibited and more free, which in turn sparks creativity.
Revel in your messy desk
If you are the kind of person who loves clean workspaces and an empty in-tray, pay heed to these wise words from Albert Einstein: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”
Break the silence
If your office is deathly silent, a little background noise might help do the trick! Pop your headphones in and plug in to Coffitivity.com, a site which will play soundscapes of background noise from bars and cafés, or Simplynoise.com, where you can listen to thunderstorms, as well as pink, brown and white noise (yes, who knew noise came in such an array of colours).
Write your ideas down
We all have times when ideas come to us, but how often do we stop what we’re doing to write them down? Make sure you have a notepad by the bed and in your bag, and exercise enough discipline to write them down as they come to you. Don’t wait until you get home to do it, because more often than not, they will evaporate as quickly as they appeared.
Try some word association
These can be a fun way to stimulate your mind and to shine a light on parts of your brain that otherwise would remain in the dark. Try it by yourself or if a colleague has a spare 5 minutes, they might be up for a quick game?
Take a step back
There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank screen, feeling creatively blocked. Sometimes you need to step away from your desk for a while, just so you can return later with fresh eyes. Go take a walk around the block. Watch an inspiring TED Talk. Daydream. A little distance can do wonders.
Exercise your creative muscle
Grab a pencil and draw what you can see outside your window. Focus on the details. Write a short story about your morning, about that random person you see on the tube every afternoon, about your last holiday. Doodle. Have a bit of fun with your creative side and take the pressure off for a while.
Sometimes instead of taking the pressure off, it can be better to ramp it up instead. Give yourself five minutes where you have to write your stream of consciousness. It can be anything that comes into your head. The only rule is that you cannot lift your pen from the page for that five minutes. If you get stuck just keep writing the same word on the page over and over and over until something new comes. And it will. Whatever is in your head, get it out onto the page. Then go and have a break and later, come back and have a read back over it. Is there anything in there you can use? You never know your luck.
Do you have and workplace creativity hacks that work for you? Please share them with us in the comments below.
WHO IS VKN DIGITAL?
Vivienne Neale is a digital marketer and director of VKN Digital, which is a digital marketing agency in Hertfordshire, UK. We aim to help SMEs overcome marketing hurdles and create compelling digital content that drives results. If your website needs a refresh, new content, a rebrand, some general housekeeping – or perhaps you’re looking to build a new one from scratch – please get in touch via our contact page for a free Skype consultation. We can also help with SEO, design and social media.