How to Use Creativity in Your Daily Life

Article and Photograph by Make The Days Count Contributor Ann Wilkinson

 

What do you conjure up in your mind when you think of the word “creativity”?  Do you think of an artist wielding a paintbrush or a charcoal pencil?  Do you think of an actor on stage interpreting her lines?  Do you think of a master musician creating a complex piece of music?  Do you ever picture yourself in any of these scenes of creativity? 

 

You are a creative person by nature.  We all are.  Perhaps you have let this aspect of yourself go with your busy day-to-day life of work, bills, commuting, children and their priorities.  But have you considered that you can continue to explore your creative side, even in the midst of the day-to-day?  And, if you can add little bits of creativity to your daily routine, you may find that you become increasingly creative and gradually more satisfied with your life.

 

Here is a brief list of things to try to get your creative juices flowing.  And relax!  None of these suggestions include getting a huge canvas, a set of oil paints or taking up the cello … that is unless you want to.

 

At Home:

Turn off your TV for an evening and pick up the book you’ve wanted to read.  Sounds easy and it is.  While reading is enjoyable in and of itself, it is also one of the very best ways to start your creative juices flowing.

 

While the TV is off, try listening to some new music.  Choose a genre or an artist you may not be familiar with.  If you listen to adult alternative contemporary, try some world music.  Find a vocalist who doesn’t sing in your native language.  It’s rather freeing to hear a song whose words you don’t understand.  Suddenly, you hear the melody and arrangement a bit more clearly, and you can hear the song as a whole.  Julieta Venegas (http://www.myspace.com/julietavenegas) is fantastic.  Putumayo Music (http://www.putumayo.com/) has some wonderful music from all over the world.

 

Pick one new recipe to try for yourself or your family and friends.  You can search on-line food sites and look for dishes containing ingredients you already have in your pantry.  Try searching http://www.epicurious.com for some inspiring ideas for something new to eat.

 

Use a different route to take your dog for a walk.  It’s amazing how we get locked into taking the same walk every day.  And while you are out there, take your eyes upward and really take a look at the sky.  What colors do you see?  What textures do the clouds have?  What kind of buildings and houses are in your neighborhood?  If you want to take this one step further, check http://www.meetup.com to find a group of dog walkers in your community.  Get social while you are out there!

 

At Work:

Clear off your desk.  Many of us say we know exactly where everything is in that giant stack of papers in the in-basket, but the reality is we are bogged down by clutter that surrounds us.  When your desk is clean and you have space to work, you will find that you can be more efficient as well as better able to come up with a new idea or two.

 

Decorate your workspace.  Many companies have restrictions on displaying personal photographs and family pictures, so do something a bit different.  Check your local museums for postcard depictions of art in their collection.  Get a fantastic 2009 calendar with images of things you love.  There are calendars now for just about every interest and they are so easy to find.   And think small, too, especially if your space is limited (not all of us enjoy a corner office with massive windows).  Take a look at displaying ACEO’s (Artist Cards, Editions & Originals).  ACEO’s are tiny, just 2.5 by 3.5 inches, and are created in all medium – drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, collages.  Get the scoop on ACEO’s at http://www.art-cards.org/ and purchase one or two from http://www.etsy.com  (just search ACEO on Etsy’s main page and you’ll be astounded at the amazing art you’ll find).

 

Take a quiet lunch break.  Make an agreement with yourself to spend one day each workweek having lunch with just you.  No working lunches at your desk, no hours running errands and one less gossip session with your buddies.  Having time to yourself to take a walk, read a new book, slowly eat your lunch away from the madness is extremely rejuvenating.  Even if you can only afford to spend 15 minutes away from your desk, do it.  You’ll return feeling ready to take on the world, and you’ll spark your creative instincts.

 

With Friends and Family:

Instead of meeting friends for drinks or dinner, try meeting for a hike or walk.  Or gather at a museum to spend some time.  You’ll have new and inspiring conversations. 

 

Lots of cities and towns have weekly gallery strolls.  They are usually held on Thursday or Friday nights and are often sponsored by local art organizations and often tie in with public transportation.  You can go from gallery to gallery and feel free to just look at the art with no obligation to buy.  As a bonus, many gallery strolls offer appetizers and beverages as you travel on your way, so you won’t go hungry.  Try Googling “find a gallery stroll in your city” or “art walk” and you will be amazed at what pops up.

 

Dig out your camera and vow to take one photograph every day of your children, just doing ordinary things.  I recently read about a photographer who documented her children’s’ lives in just this way, and the catalog of photos she has is priceless to her now-grown family.  When you think back and remember a tiny moment of your child’s growing up years, you can find a photograph to help reinforce that memory.  And taking a photograph every day will actually force you to think creatively as you plan your shot.

 

Make room in your home for art.  It doesn’t have to cost much, and it can actually be free or nearly free.  You can find treasures at garage or yard sales, discarded on the sidewalk, growing in the nearby field.  Art can be found as a beautiful note card in your local card shop, and you can put that card in a simple frame or just magnet it to your fridge.

 

Play “I Spy”.  As silly as this game is, it really makes you see things differently!  Check

http://www.ehow.com/how_13463_play-i-spy.html, for the simple rules for this game.  And, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it, either!

 

Take one of these little ideas and see if it works for you.  And, let us know of any great suggestions you have for making your life more creative.  When you allow yourself to think creatively, you can be more efficient, solve problems and live a fuller life.

 

“… do anything … that brings more happiness, celebration, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, self-esteem, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, beauty, peace, relaxation, communication and life energy to … all living beings on this planet.”
-Bruce Williamson, It’s Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood

 

“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by orginality, overcomes everything.”
-George Lois

 

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Posted on 3 December, 2008 in Balance, Career, Finance & Family, Happiness, Making the Day Count
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One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Brandon Lawrence
    December 9th, 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    Ann, I relate to your suggestion to meet family to a walk, or something more creative than sitting around. Nice post. Recently I started to meet my mom at the park to walk. There is a 1.5 mile walking path that loops back, and with the people and view it’s really energizing.

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