For the past year, I have been sharing ideas about creativity with you almost every week. And every single week, I have written about creativity. And every single week, it has been about your personal creativity. While this is great, I am doing you a disservice if we don’t acknowledge that there are other parts of your creativity than just your personal creativity.
This week I am excited to dive into the idea of creativity at work or using your creative side at your job. Now for some, this can be kind if a ‘duh’ idea as your job might fall into a category that is already commonly thought of as creative. But what about the rest of us? Just because we have jobs or careers that are considered more left-brain, why should we miss out on all of the fun?
There are two aspects of creativity at work that we need to take a closer look at today. First, how even the most seemingly “non-creative” jobs actually challenge your creativity – and probably on a daily basis. Second, if you do feel like you have a job that doesn’t allow you to flex your creative muscles, steal these three ideas to find ways to practice your creativity throughout your work day.
Once again (sorry, I say this all the time), my favorite definition of creativity is turning ideas into reality. Using this idea as the basis for thinking about creativity, we can come up with examples of how to practice your creativity at any job, because one aspect of “turning ideas into reality” is problem-solving.
It doesn’t matter what your job is, just about every single job has some room for creativity or creative thinking. Granted this might look a little different than you think. Remember, creativity doesn’t equal art. When I say that just about every job can challenge you creatively, I’m not saying that every job is artistic – not even close.
Here are a couple examples of jobs in what are usually considered non-creative fields, yet they have a high demand for creative thinking.
*These are just examples + are not meant to stereotype any person, any job, etc. or to offer advice on how you should do your job. Just meant to get you thinking!
If you are a nutritionist, you might use your creativity when designing a meal plan for someone with many food allergies.
If you are a landscaper, you might use your creativity to figure out how to give someone the design they want despite the cost.
If you are an accountant, you might use your creativity when figuring out what deductions your client can use to save them money.
If you are a therapist, you might use your creativity when counseling a patient with a problem you have not previously encountered.
If you are teacher, you might use your creativity when designing a new lesson for your students.
If you are receptionist, you might use your creativity when someone shows up for a meeting that was not previously communicated.
If you repair medical equipment, you might use your creativity when fixing a piece of equipment that is needed immediately even though you lack the specific tools you need.
These are just a few examples, but take a moment to think about your job – whatever it is. Think through what a normal day is like. How does it challenge you creatively? Is it enough for you? If it’s not, pay attention to the second aspect of practicing your creativity at work.
The second aspect of practicing your creativity at work is taking responsibility to find ways to practice your creativity when your job does not demand it of you. I’ll say that again, it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, no one else’s. It would be awesome if you had a job that aligned with your personal creativity, but the truth is that most of us don’t. Even so, that doesn’t mean there is no room for your creativity, you just have to get resourceful when finding ways to infuse it into your job.
Steal These 3 Ideas to Infuse Creativity Into Any Job
Find a creative buddy at work – everything is better with a buddy. Instead of you and your work buddy sitting around and complaining how much your job sucks, collaborate with each other. Whether it is something work related or not, it really doesn’t matter. If it is work related – awesome, you will be taking your professional responsibilities to the next level. If you choose to collaborate on something that isn’t work related – still awesome. It will get you excited and feed your soul. You will be looking forward to going to work each day to see your creative buddy so that you can find time to chat + make plans for your creative project. Either way you win.
Start practicing visual thinking. Visual thinking is using pictures (visuals) to process what you are thinking/learning and to communicate that information. Visual thinking can be used to brainstorm, to communicate your ideas, to problem solve, to tell a story, etc. Visual thinking is awesome because anyone can do it; you most definitely do not need to be an artist. Want to learn more? Click here to read: Illustrate Your Ideas: 3 Tips for Getting Started with Visual Thinking.
Keep an Ideas Journal. Choose a number. Each day you will brainstorm _______ (insert number here) new ideas. Decide where you will keep your ideas. Start a Google Doc or a new journal just for this purpose. Each day, add your chosen number of new ideas. Guaranteed that most of them will be absolute crap, but amongst all that crap will be a couple of pieces of gold. Whenever you are feeling stuck, return to it and read it. Either you will be able to steal one of your own ideas exactly as you wrote it down or one of your ideas will inspire a new, even better one.
What can you take away from this?
- Just about every job is creative in some way – admittedly, at some jobs it’s a little less obvious than others.
- If you feel like your job isn’t challenging you creatively, you have 3 options.
#1 Deal with It
#2 Find a New Job
#3 Make It Your Responsibility to Challenge Yourself Creatively. I recommend this one. Choose one of the three ideas from above and get started infusing your personal creativity into your job.