Career Tips

Get creative, get innovative! 6 Tips to shake up your work life

Posted: 20/10/2016

You know the saying: “We can do it the hard way, or we can do it the easy way…”

Chances are, you’d prefer to do things the easy way. That’s smart and it’s common sense too.  So when it comes to your work life, do you want to drudge through laboriously or do you want to make life easier for yourself, be more productive, and have much more fun in the process?

You see, being creative and innovative isn’t just a lot more interesting, it’s a lot more productive. There are so many ways you can do this. You just have to (literally) get creative. Here’s how.

1. Stand up

It’s addictively comfortable sitting down, and sure, the idea of standing up can be less than appealing, but you’d be amazed at the difference it makes. Get that energy flowing right through your body, and notice what it does to your brain – and subsequently your innovation and creativity. You needn’t stand all day long, however, the occasional burst of standing up does wonders for your brain, not just your body.

Want another idea? Hold short stand-up meetings and notice the increase in attentiveness, inspiration and ideas. Stand-up meetings are a great timesaver – and a wonderful way of gleaning inspiration.

2. Get inspired

Innovative people are inspired by what’s around them, their context and environment. Any time you see something that makes you feel enthusiastic or excited, take note of it. If it is an object, bring it in to work. If it’s an article, bookmark it. Have a pin-up board at work? Pop your favourite inspirational photos up there. Yes, some people call them mood boards, but don’t scoff, they shouldn’t be limited to self-help books or Facebook. Having inspirational images around you can have a big impact on your innovation and creativity levels.

3. Innovative thinking games with a colleague

In truth, it’s not a game, but it sounds softer if you view it this way. Find a colleague that you work well with and hold each other accountable for coming up with a new idea or a new way of challenging each other every week. For example, commit to a time every Friday where you critique something together. If you are fitness instructors, critique a fitness video and say what you like and don’t like about it. Work in photography or with images? Critique a collection of work and give each other honest feedback about it.

Alternatively, commit to sharing one business-related blog post you found each week and talk to each other about what you learnt from it. These type of ‘games’ are an effective way of continuing your education, fostering innovative thinking and keeping each other inspired.

4. Just do it

If you have a great idea, there is no need to ramble on about it. Bring it to life. Put your ideas down on the page, draw them, display them, whatever it takes to make them visible and real. When people can see that you action things rather than simply talk, they’ll be more likely to take you seriously.

Innovative thinking games with a colleague - My Career in Child Care

5. Take a break

Not many people come up with exceptional, exciting ideas if they are tied to a desk, day in, day out. You need breaks. Short, quick breaks throughout the day; occasional days off; and holidays will drive innovation at work. Walk to the other work site instead of driving, schedule a regular lunch with a friend, have a chat to a work colleagues you don’t know well. Taking a break shakes your brain up and helps you see things in a fresh, new perspective.

6. Challenge yourself with change, boundaries and constraints

Creativity drives innovation, but creativity is dependent on context.  Sometimes even innovative people need to challenge or change the context to get more creative ideas. Although it sounds counterintuitive, experimenting with change, boundaries and constraints can do wonderful things for innovative thinking.  Try turning your desk to face the other way, taking a walk instead of sitting at lunchtime, limiting your email work to twice a day only, banning a certain software, not using certain words, or try going a day without your mobile phone.

You’ll be surprised at how these exercises will spark new thoughts on how to do the same old things!

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