Want to boost productivity in 2013? Do something out of the box: Improve your creativity, regardless of what career you have.
“When you increase your creativity, you achieve better alignment between your actions and your purpose, greater fulfillment, and higher earnings,” suggests Maria Yudkin, author of “Inspired! How to Be More Original, Insightful and Productive in Your Work” (Creative Ways Publishing, 2012).
Her book – a compilation of more than two decades of research on productivity and creativity – offers useful tips to charge up the creative process and natural motivation. Creativity isn’t an exact science, but it involves far more factors within your control than most people realize, she says. You can start by analyzing your creativity patterns.
Think about a time during which you effortlessly completed a task or project. Figure out what helped contribute to that success. Your creativity and productivity will reach their peak when you follow your natural energy. Know your learning style and behavioral quirks. Everyone has a different source of inspiration, Yudkin adds.
“One person may be most productive by having the radio blaring and lots of commotion around her. Someone else may need to be moving to think well. Still another person gets inspired by having meaningful pictures to look at while thinking through a problem,” says Yudkin, who lives in western Massachusetts.
Don’t hesitate to try new options. If you’ve always typed out your ideas at the desk, consider using a drafting table with a huge piece of paper and colored markers.
“If a colleague tells you she spends lunch hours sketching in the kids’ room of the library down the street, tag along with your laptop once or twice,” she adds.
• Know yourself. Identify your most creative time of day (morning? afternoon? after work hours?) and schedule the most challenging projects in that “creative period.”
• Generate lots of ideas. Take time to brainstorm solutions to a problem and come up with multiple ideas. The more, the merrier. Studies show that the original concepts tend to turn up after the more conventional ones.
• Keep a tab on your ideas. Use a notebook or tape recorder to keep track of your ideas and thoughts. Don’t delay. Insights slip away quickly and they don’t always come back.
• Make your workspace inviting. You can to get down to business without negative distractions. That may mean placing your lists of tasks on a bulletin board rather than on your computer monitor. Also, don’t clutter your desk with unnecessary items. Separate the clutter into active and archive sections, and set up a storage place for the archives.
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