There are 10 million new cases of dementia every year, with most from Alzheimer’s disease. 200,000 of those affect young people. And researchers alarm that, despite a recent decline in dementia, its prevalence will likely not be reduced for the next 40 years. We’ve spoken with two brain researchers to see what can you do to defend your brain.
You know what it’s like to get stuck in a rut at work—we’ve all been there.
Performing the same mundane tasks repeatedly can make you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel.
And what’s the way out? In a word: creativity.
I know what you might be thinking—
Yeah, creativity is a catchy concept, but it has nothing to do with my job. It benefits only those in the arts, advertising, or marketing.
Well—it’s not the case at all. Creativity is a critical job skill regardless of your industry.
Any you can train it just like any other skill.
Why You Need Creativity at Work
Not for designing a stylish presentation.
It goes far beyond.
Creativity in the workplace means challenging schemes and patterns, taking risks, and developing innovative strategies that solve problems, big and small.
“Improving creativity and creative-thinking skills has immense practical benefits for both individuals and organizations, for both the short and long term,” says Gerard Puccio, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of the International Center for Studies in Creativity.
According to Puccio, not only does creativity facilitate innovation but it also drives prosperity. Consider this example:
In an experiment, three hundred firms were compared using measures for innovation. The most innovative firms enjoyed 30 percent greater market share. Creativity isn’t just some fancy concept. It’s an actual moneymaker.
And what does that mean for you?
If you can help your company deliver on the business goals with creative ideas and solutions, you can nearly guarantee your next promotion.
While creativity comes naturally to some, for many, it’s a skill to be nurtured and developed, rather than an innate talent.
Time for training.
How to Be More Creative at Work [4 Simple Steps]
There are many ways to unleash more creativity in your job, and we have a few ideas you can start using today.
1. Ask more questions
Oftentimes, we don’t question how things are done in the workplace because that’s simply the way we were trained or we don’t want to rock the boat.
The first step in being creative, however, is seeing these opportunities and allowing your creativity to run free. When you have an idea, don’t be afraid to challenge policies or procedures that you feel can be improved upon or more efficient.
When presenting your new idea to a manager or leadership, harness your creativity to be solution-oriented.
Before you raise your concerns, be prepared with a viable solution or alternative and plan for how to implement it.
If your idea works, you’ve shown that you can provide value above and beyond what your job requires of you.
2. Stop saying “no”
It’s common for people to say “no” to a task because they’re afraid they can’t handle it or don’t have the knowledge to succeed.
And that’s exactly what prevents them from learning new skills and growing professionally.
Think about this anecdote:
Karen Schneider, a freelance writer, once decided to start saying “yes” to everything for one entire year.
This project not only helped her escape her comfort zone and become more open minded. It also taught Karen about the potential for failure (and the value of it!).
“I campaigned to be a project lead at a former employer. I spent hours researching and laying out my proposal, and when I finally landed a meeting with the director who was spearheading the project, I was sure I would be a shoo-in.
“After I excitedly gave my presentation, the director asked me about our competitor and their product, and I drew a blank. I had such tunnel vision about our product and how excited I was that I overlooked a simple question I should’ve been able to easily answer. Needless to say, I did not land that project, but I did learn a valuable lesson that aided me in future prep.”
Next time your boss or colleague asks you to do something you’re not sure how to do, push yourself to say “yes.”
You might not succeed immediately, and that’s perfectly fine. You’ll learn new skills and sharpen your creativity along the way. Be open to learning and always remember that failing is part of this process.
Plus, you never know when your newly-learned skills will come in handy in your day-to-day work tasks or when you’re in the running for a promotion or new, more important project.
3. Make time for collaboration
If you’re hitting a creative roadblock, don’t waste any more time trying to get your creative juices flowing on your own.
Instead, find someone to talk with, whether that’s a colleague, your boss, or even a good friend. Sometimes, a quick chat can be enough to get your wheels turning again.
Brainstorming with team members allows you to find creative solutions or ideas because it requires people to think critically.
Plus, hearing someone else’s thoughts might spark a new idea that never occurred to you before. Use your co-workers to cultivate your creativity, especially when you’re feeling stuck.
4. Get moving, literally
Sitting for five hours straight is not only bad for your health, but it also stunts your creative thinking. According to research from the Social Psychological and Personality Science, groups are more creative and collaborative when they’re standing up.
If your brain is feeling foggy and anything but creative, stand up or take a lap around the office.
Even just a few minutes of movement or standing may be enough to spark the creativity you’re looking for. Not to mention, stepping away from a challenge allows you to return with a fresh set of eyes.
What do you think?
No matter what do you do for a living, being creative can greatly benefit you. Cultivating creativity in your day-to-day work might be exactly what you need to take your career in the right direction, whether that means landing that promotion or just expanding your professional skill set.
How important do you think creativity is in today’s work life? Do you have your own creativity hacks you’d like to share? Or a story about how your creative approach delivered great results for your company? Let us know in the comments, let’s get the discussion going!