Use Your Routine to Jump-Start Creativity

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You may not be an artist, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need creativity. If you come up with unique marketing ideas, plan company events, or have to solve personnel problems, you’re being creative at work. So how can you keep the good ideas flowing?

It might sound counter-intuitive that our same old, daily routines can spark our creativity, but it’s true. I bet you’ve had time in which you sat at your desk just trying to be creative. Did it work? It usually doesn’t; being creative on demand is tough.

Routines Create Structure

Very few people are creative out of thin air. Think about two tasks: one where you know the parameters, one where you don’t. Which is easier? If you have a structure from which to launch, you can then come up with ideas that will fit. In a blog post “Killing the Fear of Routine,” artist Dan Goodwin says, “A big fear many of us have as artists is that if we develop creative routines and practices, we’re likely to get stuck in a rut.”

He’s explaining the difference between the creative process itself and the supportive structure that allows you to come up with new ideas. It’s the security of our routines that help us focus on other stuff. You’ve probably experienced working on something less than inspiring, like a spreadsheet, and a great idea pops into your head for an upcoming project.

Off Your Game

Do you ever notice that varying your daily routine throws you off your stride? Let’s say one morning no one makes coffee. You have to stop your usual habits, make coffee, complain about it to whomever was listening, and now your day feels disrupted. The normalcy of your routine leaves you free to focus on what needs to get done, not when or how.

What regular routines help you focus on the creative aspects of your job? Tell us about them!

Photo credit: Chris Metcalf