Try these quick, easy mental exercises to add some creativity (and fun!) to your busiest days.
Whether you’re a lawyer or an artist, we’ve already convinced you why pursuing creativity will help you think smarter and work better. But let’s say you don’t have the time to learn how to paint or write a novella. You can still infuse creativity— and give your creative muscles a workout— in just a few minutes, any day of the week. Read on to discover our tips for boosting creativity that fits into even the busiest lawyer’s schedule.
#1 Write Your Thoughts
No rules, no grammar, no grading. Just grab a pen and paper and write down anything that comes to mind for 10 minutes. Not only is free-form journaling a form of stress-relief, but your stream-of-consciousness writing— and seeing the pages you fill up— will get your creative juices flowing.
#2 Doodle a Bit
Drawing takes time, doodling takes just a minute— but both are ways to create. Take a few minutes with your notepad to sketch some shapes, scenes, or even caricatures (ahem.). You’ll engage your creative observational and spatial skills for a quick mental boost.
#3 Zone Out for a Few
Spacing out is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually a great way to give your mind into a creative space. When you zone out, your mind can explore new ideas, process the day, and let unfinished thoughts come to the forefront. So put down your iPhone during your lunch break and give yourself a few minutes to just, well, do nothing.
#4 Zero In for a Few
The opposite of zoning out can also get you into a more creative mindset. Think of something you’ve been curious about, felt you wanted to understand better, or just generally no idea about but want to learn a little bit more. It could be anything from how to make homemade dumplings to international relations to the stars in our universe. Spend a few minutes looking into it and reading up or watching videos on it. It’ll quickly take you into a new world full of details and various views or approaches, which can help get your creative juices flowing as well.
#5 Take More Pics
Speaking of your iPhone, that handy portable camera is a great way to give your creativity some added oomph. Challenge yourself to take one non-selfie picture a day to get yourself in the habit of looking around yourself for beauty and trying to reshape your surroundings into art. Then just point, snap, and walk away with a new perspective.
#6 Stop and Look
And once you’re looking for a picture, you can also stop and simply look. Whether you’re walking to work or on lunch break, try to spend a few minutes engaging in active observation instead of hurrying to your destination. You can even narrate your surroundings (to yourself, please) to increase your creative observation skills and train yourself to notice the details.
#7 Surround Yourself with Other People’s Creativity
The greatest artists have learned (or stolen from) other artists, and you can do the same— without plagiarizing. If you find your creative juices running low, browse some artwork, photography, or any other creative output to re-inspire you and give you a new way of looking at things.
#8 Ask Someone Else’s Advice
There’s no better way to get your mind going than bouncing ideas off of someone else— especially if that someone else works in a different industry. Call that friend of yours to discuss your latest professional conundrum. It’s a win-win-win: either they’ll give you great advice, your explanation will give you a new perspective, or their bad advice will give you clarity on how much you already know.
#9 Choose a Terrible Idea
Sometimes, exploring the reasons why not to do something will give you plenty of ideas for how to best proceed. When faced with a challenge, try choosing—and justifying— the worst response you can. With a little bit of humor and absurdity, you’ll also reduce the stress that may be blocking your creative channels.
#10 Go Out of Your Usual Way
The real secret to creativity? Doing things differently. If you find yourself stuck in the same old routine, shaking things up will help you up your creative amp. Change your schedule, drive a different route, or even just strike up conversation with a co-worker you usually ignore. You never know what you’ll encounter— and even if you don’t stumble on something new, the task of adapting to difference gives your mind a much-needed boost.
Pick two creative items from the list above to do within the next week. Note any difference in your approach to problem-solving, thought process or overall creativity.