- Limit social media
The average person spends nearly 2 hours per day browsing across 5 social media platforms. Users check notifications, curate and share content, and interact with one another. Many people rely on media-rich content platforms like Facebook and Twitter for global and local news, culture, and community. So, what’s the problem?
For some, the routine is a compulsion, inhibiting workflow and interrupting meaningful, real-world interactions. Additionally, creativity can suffer when stimuli are limited to feeds of unoriginal content. Boost your cognitive functioning by restricting your time on social media. Seek out original content from a variety of channels: an interest-topic magazine, a reputable newspaper, a string of bookmarked websites, a word-of-the-day subscription, or a book before bed. When you provide your brain with dynamic, high-quality input, you can expect a high-quality output of ideas. Similarly, when you consume an endless stream of 40-character interjections and over-shared cat memes, you might find yourself in a creative rut.
- Keep a journal
Annie Dillard says, on writing down ideas, “Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.” The idea that struck you during your morning commute may very well be novel, but if you fail to collect it, articulate it, and capture the impression of it, you are unlikely to return to it. Keep a catch-all journal with you for task lists, brain-break sketches, stream-of-consciousness free-writes, and brainstorms. You’re a maker, and every maker needs raw material. Have yours handy, and don’t let the good stuff get lost.
- Articulate and Gesture
So, you have an idea. You’ve spent time with it and limited distractions. You’ve sketched it and fleshed it out and you’ve meditated on it for weeks. If it’s still a little foggy, try calling up a friend for coffee or drafting a quick email. Studies show that many of us develop complex thinking and learning through articulation. Writing and talking about your project with trusted friends and colleagues can stimulate your brain to forge new perspectives and precise language that will inform your process.
And while you’re on your rant, use both hands. It’s no secret that great leaders use hand gestures to aid in communication. So do great thinkers! Did you know that the use of both right- and left-hand gestures helps the brain develop both creative and analytical perspectives? Spatial learning techniques like gesturing can further oil the channel from mind to world. Communicate and articulate to better create.