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Lifehacks to Help You Become More Creative

Whether you're a dedicated painter, a chronic dabbler, or a just someone wanting to boost your creativity, there's no question you can use lifehacks to help you become more creative.

Photo by Alice Achterhof on Unsplash

What do you think of when someone says "creativity?" A messy studio, empty coffee cups, paint everywhere? A sketchbook full of unknown faces? An old typewriter, framed by dying sunlight, crumpled-up pages strewn across the floor? The point is, there is a tendency to think of "creativity" exclusively in terms of the fine arts, and as a particular kind of lifestyle. It is considerable, though, that creative people have an advantage in many other aspects of life, including business, law, the sciences—pretty much anything you could want to do. You should always bring in at least a little bit of creativity with you on your way, which is why it is useful to have lifehacks to help you become more creative immediately at you disposal. So, maybe you're a writer looking to up your game, or a businessman looking to bring some new perspective to the job, but whatever your story, a little abstract thinking goes a long way.

Socialize with people.

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

Being an artist does not mean you have to be a recluse. Many introverted, reclusive people in the past have been great artists; but the truth is, if you really want some lifehacks to help you become more creative, you're going to have to step out into the world. Talking with others gives you an incredible amount of new creative ideas and insights for your art, and provides you with the opportunity to talk about your ideas. Often, when you feel stuck on an idea or artistically blocked, talking it out can give you a new perspective and get you unstuck. Even if you're naturally a more introverted person, getting out of your comfort zone, talking to new people, and finding the time to socialize can help you become a much more creative and connected person.

Set a schedule.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A lot of people, artists included, perpetuate an image of artists as free-spirited, struck-by-inspiration, and often slaves-to-your-passions types, who drink through their writers block then stay up for a week straight cranking out a masterpiece. This is not only a terribly unhealthy and damaging way to live, but it's also detrimental to genuine creativity and production. While it might seem like setting limits on your artistry is somehow contrary to the point, having a schedule and the discipline to stick to it can actually really help you find focus as a creative. Many artists have actually found that by setting themselves strict times to work, they ultimately find that their creative thoughts come much more freely and easily than when just waiting around for inspiration. Of course, setting aside two hours every morning for creative work does not mean you can't do more if you're inspired later on, but it is a really good way to push past any kind of artist's block.

Clean out clutter.

Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

Cleaning out clutter is my favorite lifehack to help you become more creative, because it's also a great lifehack for, well, life in general. The cognitive power of a good cleaning spree cannot be overstated. There's something very cathartic about throwing out unneeded items, organizing your space, and getting rid of distractions. There are two major ways this helps your creativity: First, the very act of cleaning out clutter is the perfect task for thinking. You're interacting with objects, thoughts, and memories, which may provide all kinds of inspiration while performing an otherwise somewhat mundane task that gives you time to think and contemplate. Secondly, once you're done creatively decluttering your life or space, you'll have a place to work and think that is much more conducive to creative production.

Go outside.

Photo by Arūnas Naujokas on Unsplash

Hardly the most original lifehack to help you become more creative, but if it's cliché, it's for a good reason. First of all, exercise boosts your creativity, even mild exercise like a casual walk. More importantly though, getting outdoors opens up all kinds of stimulation and inspiration for creativity. The beauty of nature, the smell of the air, even the bustle of a busy street all provide ample sources of inspiration for all kinds of creative types. Take a notebook with you and jot down thoughts as you walk, or leave everything behind and just allow the environment to wash over you. This will get your creative juices flowing immediately, and you'll return home ready to make some darn good art.

Do something new.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Most artists work primarily within a single or small handful of media—for example, an artist may draw and paint, but not write or play an instrument. Another might write beautifully, but never bother with visual arts. This is fine, of course; most people do what they do for a reason. That's what they love, that's what they're good at. To really become a more creative person, to truly keep your creative juices flowing all the time, you can't limit yourself. You don't have to try and become a successful painter if you're a writer, but all creative types should occasionally dabble in something new. Go out and take some pictures, think about the way that angle and framing effect the final product. Write a short story, and consider the way you might translate it into a different medium. Especially when you're feeling stuck, go try something new.

Make bad art.

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

"Make art" might seem like one of the sillier and more trivial lifehacks to help you become more creative, but it's actually one of the most significant, and for many, difficult. When you want to create something, you want to create something good, you want to do it well. Most creative endeavors have to start somewhere a little lower down the ladder. Your first drafts, or early attempts, might turn out to be masterpieces; but more often, they'll turn out to be good exercises in creativity that maybe don't quite live up to what you want. That's where editing and re-doing come in. For perfectionists especially, unwillingness to make bad art is the biggest hindrance to creativity, but is nearly guaranteed to make you 10x smarter in the long run.

Get some exercise.

Photo by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash

As previously stated (and love it or hate it), the scientific results are incontrovertible: Exercise has been proven to boost memory, increase brain power, and get your creative juices flowing. A regular exercise routine, whether that's a pleasant job, yoga, weightlifting, rock climbing, or whatever else you like, will help you get motivated and happy every day. The health benefits alone provide a compelling reason for all creative types to get regular exercise: When you feel healthy, it's much easier to be productive and focused, to stay motivated, and take pride in your work. It should be expected then that a steady diet of endorphins from regular exercise will boost your IQ, concentration, creativity, mood, memory, and motivation to flex those abstract thinking muscles, too.

Cook something daring.

Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

If you want to get your creativity flowing, learn to cook. Set a goal to try a new recipe every week, every month, or every day. Learn how different ingredients interact, why certain recipes work the way they do. You'll quickly find that cooking is an art of its own, which will give you a new perspective of the relationship between creativity and practical life. Plus, introducing new, productive tasks into your life is always beneficial to your abstract thinking and ability. As you learn new things, you will give yourself more opportunities to exercise your thoughts. So, for the sake of your creativity, stop eating pasta with canned tomato sauce every night and whip something new and fun up.

Get away from screens.

Photo by Oliur on Unsplash

One of the reasons that things like de-cluttering your room or learning a new recipe are such great lifehacks to help you be more creative is that they're activities that allow you to think. You can take a break from hard, mentally-intensive work by doing productive things like cooking, cleaning, and walking, and still allow your mind to mull things over. You'll find new things to inspire and motivate you, and those breaks will leave you feeling much more ready to take on a new task. 

On the other hand, breaks that involve binge-watching TV or scrolling through social media have the exact opposite effect: They provide very little in the way of inspiration, but effectively shut your brain off. You won't come out of a screen-based break feeling refreshed or with many new ideas, and you won't have the time to think, even in a back-burner kind of way, about any of your current projects or problems. Limiting your screen time is crucial to having successful productive creativity in your life.

Write everything down.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Creative people of all kinds (and non-creative people who want to be more creative) should never be without a notebook. You never know when an interesting thought will strike, a new idea will arise, or when you may witness something you'd like to remember. The world is full of little lifehacks to help you become more creative, and making a habit of writing them down will help your creativity in return. Plus, keeping a journal is, itself, a creative practice. You can make it a simple book of phrases or lists of thoughts, or you can incorporate other aspects of your creativity, like drawings, pressed flowers and photos, or whatever else you like. It's a place to put all of your thoughts and inspirations down at once, and maybe find some connections between them that you hadn't considered before.

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