10 Ways To Spur Creativity

When it comes to tiny houses, we need to get creative, in many ways we are breaking new ground in the way our culture views housing.  Let’s face it folks, downsizing our homes is radical.  We are rejecting social conventions, overhauling housing as we know it, and dealing with institutions like zoning. This comes with tackling design challenges of getting so much in small space, how to rethink our lives, and much more.  So I wanted to share 10 tips on spurring creativity around design challenges

1. Extend your social circle

The old saying goes, birds of a feather flock together, and it’s true.  We often find ourselves in the company of very similar people with overlapping viewpoints on things.  Liberals tend to keep liberal friends, as do conservatives with conservatives, or really any other division.  But I have found some of the most growth occurs when two groups of people come together.  The conversations have opposing viewpoints, but can be done in a constructive way.  The other view point can also tease out weaknesses that need to be addressed.

2. Travel

For those of us who have the ability to get out and see the world it is an amazing opportunity, America is a really an odd ball, a microcosm in this world, things outside of it are quite different for most.  Traveling brings out an ability to cope with new things, step out of you comfort zone, meet new people and be exposed to new ideas.  One thing I have found is that in many other cultures they often have simple solutions to problems that seem to pop up in tiny houses.

3. Take a shower

I thought I was the odd one when I said my best thinking happens in the shower.  I don’t know what it is about taking a shower, but it brings a clarity and peace that can be hard to find in the modern world.  Well it turns out that I am not as weird as I thought, because a study has been done about the power of showers to spur creative thinking.  I find it useful to clean up with a hot shower, then gradually switch to cool water.

4. Just start

Sometimes the solution is in process, you can get into a major block of analysis paralysis if you try to figure it all out from start to end.  There is certainly value in pre planning, particularly on bigger things that carry more risk, but sometime you just need to take the first step.

5. Fail

There is often little harm in failing, but only if you work into the process of working through the failure and extracting important lessons.  There was a story about an up and coming star in IBM, he was given a big project by the CEO.  After some time the project was implemented and failed miserably, it ended up costing the company $600,000.  The event was so noteworthy that a reporter interviewed the CEO and asked him, “are you planning on firing the employee, he just cost you $600,000?”  The CEO looked at him and said “are you crazy, I just spent $600,000 in training and development on him!”  It’s okay to fail, just learn from it.

6. Take a tech break

I love computers, always have, but I realize they do come at a price.  We need to make sure we take some time to step away and detach.  This could be turning off the cell phone and computer for an hour or two, or you could go as far as go on a tech fast for a week or month.

7. Get tactile

There are times where I get plugged into what I am doing on the computer, but this tends to be with things that I am very familiar with and skills I am good at.

The trick seems to be when you need to spur new ideas, brain storm, or push boundaries I need to get more physical with the process.   It is at this point I go to my white board.  I am standing, writing fast and with my stream of consciousness,  when I am mulling something over, I am pacing, tossing a ball, doing something other than sitting still.  I think the big space of the white board and hand writing are key.  Often after a session like this, I will copy the board into a mind map on my computer.

8. Take a break

It’s really too bad that our current jobs have us sitting in one place for far too long and schedules that might not necessarily be in sync with our body’s cycles.  In my times working at home, I have found that even though I take more breaks, even sometimes a true power-nap, I am way more productive than my best day in the office.  This fact has also been proven in dozens of studies, taking a break increases productivity and quality.

9. Work somewhere different

Recently a study came out showing that working in a new place can help productivity.  In fact, working in coffee shops has been shown to increase creativity.  So when you seem to hit a road block, pick up shop and move.

10. Meditate

I am still exploring this option myself, weather it is using to clear my mind and release things weighing heavy on my mind or clearing a space to make room for more intense thinking, for some this is a powerful tool.

1 Comment
  1. I have been meditating for about 2-3 years. I’ve been to two seperate Buddhist temples in the Charlotte area. I can give you some info on each if you like.

    I don’t find that anything new comes from the time I spend in mediation. I do have a much more relaxed feeling throughout the day, when I take time to sit in the morning. The relaxed frame of mind may lead to new ideas.


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