Every January we have grandiose goals – maybe a New Year’s resolution to help your team create better ideas, or execute on those ideas more effectively. Or maybe this was the year you planned to write that book or start that podcast.
And here we are in July, half-way through the calendar year and the beginning of the fiscal year for many organizations. Work has taken over all but the most essential life activities as we plan our collapse on the beach during the annual vacation. So many of us feel we simply don’t have time for creativity in the midst of everything else.
Do not despair. There are any number of small, actionable steps that can elevate your creative juices and add a little more fun to your summer.
Join a writers group or another type of accountability group that gathers regularly to share the creative process. The London Writers’ Salon gathers several times daily for virtual writing sessions. Here’s a tip: your writing doesn’t have to be for publication. You can use the writing exercised to process ideas for other projects. Regardless of the content of your writing, regular accountability will help you move toward your creative goals.
If a regular writers group is more than you can commit to, think about a quarterly boost to reset your intention to be more creative. Podcaster Cass McCrory of The Best Next Step hosts free quarterly values workshops that will help you set an intention at the beginning of each season – you’ve got time to get on the waitlist for fall.
DIY Your Upskilling.
If taking a course or attending a conference doesn’t fit into your plans, take a do-it-yourself approach and design your own experience. My column Five Books to Make You a Better Writer is one of my most popular Forbes articles. And reading fiction can help boost creativity at work, strengthen critical thinking and improve your storytelling skills when you need to pitch a new project to your boss. It’s great to know a page-turning beach read can be part of professional development.
Summer is the perfect time to crank through those online courses you’ve already paid for. Use the longer days to finally learn how to edit those videos, scan the old family photos, clear our your closet and declutter your mindset.
Summer is the best time to make room in your brain for better ideas. Begin by taking a fresh look at your everyday world. Try a walk without earbuds, a visit to an outdoor art fair or a sketching class at your local museum.
Or walk with your phone ready to make a photo essay of your day – choose a color to focus on and see how many red things you notice beyond the stop sign on the corner. Tomorrow look for yellow.
Establish a Practice.
Whether it’s writing morning pages, inventing a new summer salad each week or taking a different route home from work every day, adding a practice will help you foster more and better ideas, even if they have nothing to do with work.
If you have a team goal at work, try a walking meeting. Walking meetings have been shown to increase creativity by 81%. Essentially they help encourage divergent thinking, increase collaboration and, let’s face it, enlist the participation of those who might otherwise be furiously taking notes.
And Get Enough Rest.
And gone are the days where anyone believes that powering through to complete assignments will help make us more creative, or even effective, at work. It’s scientifically proven that quality sleep is essential to brain health. If you’re having a tough time getting good sleep, let neuroscientist Andrew Huberman guide you through a meditation to encourage non-sleep deep rest.
It’s also great to take a nap. It worked for Thomas Edison.
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