In this issue ~~
When you're living your day-to-day life, it's easy to fall into a rut. Your day is filled with repetitive tasks. We're all busy people, and in order to save time and wear-and-tear on our already-stressed energy systems, we tend to tune out and go on automatic pilot just to get things done. We can perk up our lives and even find better, more efficient ways of functioning by adding a little creativity to those day-to-day tasks.
When we think of creativity, we tend to relate it to artists and inventors. But creativity is about more than art; it's an integral part of life. Life itself is a creation, and everything we do and think is creative. Rather than relegating creativity only to the artistic parts of our lives, like our crafts and hobbies, we can be creative in everything we do.
In truth, we're all much more creative than we realize. As children, we see things in our own, unique way. But each time we're told it doesn't make sense or to "get real," we shut down a little part of our creativity. We're taught to conform, to see things as everyone else does, and end up invalidating our own sense of invention.
We can bring some creativity back to our lives by doing our daily tasks a little more consciously. Start observing what you're doing. Is there a way you can do it that would be more efficient? More effective? More fun? How would you approach it if you were doing it for the first time? Can you add someone else's input or point of view?
Look at your problem or task in different ways. Get in touch with the child in you, who sees things with new eyes and is willing to try. Use your own children as models. As adults, we have years of experience against which we measure new ideas. If they don't seem practical, we eliminate them, sometimes without giving them much consideration at all. But life changes and we change, and what didn't work a decade ago might work beautifully now.
Recently, due to a shift in my work schedule, I was forced to reorder my daily routine. At first, I was perturbed that my smooth routine was being uprooted. But before long, I found the change refreshing. I discovered places where I was wasting time. I started to get my work done earlier in the evening and began to find more time for the things that nurture me, like reading, music and talking to friends.
Another place I found to break my routine is in the kitchen. I'm not an accomplished cook, but I enjoy good food and variety. I also don't like to spend a lot of time cooking (not to mention washing dishes), and I tend to revert to the same well-worn menus. I've begun mixing and matching what's in the refrigerator, supplementing with packaged foods from the supermarket, and have been coming up with some new and interesting dishes. The added bonus is that less gets thrown away as a result of sitting in the refrigerator unused.
How can we be more creative in our relationships? When you know someone, or are living with them, for a long time, you tend to fall into the same old patterns of behavior. You may find yourself taking your old friends for granted and looking for new pastures. While new friends are fun and valuable, you can also find ways to breathe new life into long-term relationships. Find new things you can do together. Share new books and discoveries. Open up new lines of conversation and activities.
Housework is certainly not an area we relate to creativity. While some people find it relaxing, most of us don't and would prefer to find a way to complete it more efficiently. Are there better tools you could get that would make it go faster? Would it be more efficient to clean one room each day of the week? Do you need to clean as often as you do? By seeing the task in a different way, you can make it more manageable and pleasurable for yourself, and less of a burden.
And there's always room for creativity in business. While some managers are afraid to try something new for fear of not meeting deadlines or living up to client expectations, if you have an idea for a better approach, it doesn't hurt to ask.
A little imagination can also help when you're feeling stuck or in a rut. Let your imagination go, or brainstorm with a friend or colleague. Experiment with doing things in a different way. It may take you a little longer at first, but you'll discover new things about the task and about yourself. You may find in the long run that the old way works just fine, but you may also discover a new and better way, or simply a minor adjustment that improves on the old method. If you don't try, you'll never know.
Creativity is a life skill that must be continually cultivated.
Remember, you always have choice, and the trick is to keep that
choice conscious. See how many options you can create for yourself.
Go to extremes and include options that seem fantastical, and
even ones that would be undesirable. The more options you can
create for yourself, the greater your range of choice. Challenge
your old beliefs and habits about how things should be done,
and look at them with new eyes. Keep an open mind, and be willing
to try. It may shake up your daily routine for awhile, but it
will revitalize your days.
Pause several times a day to think about what you're doing, especially if you're feeling harried or stressed. Take a deep breath, then stop and think: Is there another way I could approach this task that would accomplish it more creatively and efficiently?
"If you want to be creative in your company, your career, your life, all it takes is one easy step . . . the extra one. When you encounter a familiar plan, you just ask one question: 'What ELSE could we do?'"
". . . geniuses get novel and original ideas by incorporating chance or randomness into the creative process in order to destabilize their existing patterns of thought so they may reorganize their thoughts in new ways."
"Adding fun, joy and play into your life -- and business -- will certainly give you more perspectives when looking at the same problem situation."
(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)
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