7 proven ways to boost your creativity while working from home
Updated: May 10
Do you find it difficult to get creative and be inspired for your business or project? Especially these days when we are less mobile, it might get even more complicated to find inspiration to fire and wire our brain. But, don’t worry, we got you covered. In this blog post, we describe 7 proven ways to boost your creativity while working from home.
You should keep in mind that creativity is an active process. You cannot simply wait for inspiration to knock on your door by sitting back. Creativity is like a muscle. You can build and strengthen it over time. Here is how.
1. Go for a walk
One 2014 study found that people tend to be more creative when they are walking rather than when they are sitting down. Previous research has shown that regular physical activity can play an important role in boosting and protecting cognitive abilities. In another study, Harvard Business Review found that people who take part in walking meetings are more creative and engaged.
If you are sitting at a desk and trying to come up with a creative idea, stand up and have a walk. Do you not fancy a little stroll? Simply move. It is proven that already moving your body helps with the stimulation of our brain. We hear people saying that they get the best ideas when they are in the toilet. Well this is indeed funny but comes as no surprise. It is due to the fact that they simply left their desk and walked to another room. So, go ahead, stand up, and move.
2. Listen to a podcast
We are so lucky to live in an era where we can easily access successful mentors and inspiring personalities via one click. Are you stuck with a business idea? Do you find it hard to motivate yourself? Listen to a podcast! Or watch a TED Talk on YouTube.
Identify energetic people who have had successful ventures in your business area and who have similar values to you. We guarantee you that at the end of an insightful podcast or talk, you’ll feel more energized, find 1-2 interesting ideas to implement, and be more motivated to continue with your project.
3. Surround Yourself With Inspiration
When we started to work more from home, we saw quite entertaining photos of people getting creative with their home office setups such as using ironing boards and liquor cabinets as their desks. However, it is highly important to create a working environment that inspires us. Positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggests that surroundings play a role in the creative process. Create an office environment that helps you feel energized.
This is why Google provided its employees with fun perks such as beach volleyball courts and toboggans, a setup almost resembling an adult playground. Do you know why? Kids are filled with creative energy. So, why not create the right environment, stimulus, and support for creativity.
4. Find inspiration from other industries
Are you playing the same scenarios over and over in your brain? Are you looking for some inspiration from what your competitors already did? Well, bad news. The next best idea won’t come by copying your competitors.
A Harvard Business Review article states that over the course of years of studying innovation, they’ve found that there’s great power in bringing together people who work in fields that are different from one another yet that are analogous on a deep structural level. Bringing in ideas from comparable but distinctive fields turns out to be a potential source of radical innovation. When you’re working on a problem and you pool insights from analogous areas, you’re likely to get significantly greater novelty in the proposed solutions. This is due to the fact that people can draw on different pools of knowledge and moreover they are not mentally constrained by existing solutions to the problem in their area.
As a sum up, the greater the distance between the problem and the comparable field, the greater the novelty of the solutions.
5. The Why Technique
This technique is very simple yet highly effective as it helps you to view the problem from a different perspective and further explore your options. How does it work? Simply ask why to yourself. You can go as far as asking 5 times why as Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese industrialist and founder of Toyota Industries, developed the 5 Whys technique in the 1930s.
Let’s take a look at a scenario. You are to write a creative ad copy for a skin care product. Why do you need to write an ad copy? Because you want to reach to more people and sell more of your product. Besides, making money, why do you want to sell more? Because you believe that many people will benefit from your skin care product that is handmade with all natural ingredients. Why do all natural ingredients matter to people? And so on.
One advantage of working from home, particularly from a house with children, is that we have access to numerous toys. Are there Legos around the house? Perfect, leave your desk and build something if you are stuck with a problem.
Creativity needs nourishment and play is a very important part of the creative process. However, we are so busy with our daily routines, Zoom calls and so on that we don’t take time to play and therefore we don’t benefit from the creative power of imagination and fun.
Go even one step further and place some toys on your desk. One of the most important creative skills is imagination, and placing toys on your desk can be a great way to escape into that world quickly. They will also provide a distance to the problem if you are spending hours to solve a problem without no success. Taking two minutes to play with some Legos can provide that mental break that clears things out so your brain can see the answers you are looking for.
7. Relax, you’ll get there
This one is pretty straightforward. Simply be kind to yourself. Take a deep breath and relax. Oftentimes, we are trying to achieve the perfect results. Design the perfect product, write the perfect blog article, etc. This creates extra pressure for us. Guess what, you’ll not get more creative when you are over-stressed and trying to come up with the perfect product. Reduce expectations from yourself, replace stress with passion, and simply try to enjoy what you are doing. You’ll see that you’ll eventually be more creative, motivated, and inspired and you’ll end up getting the perfect result you thrived for.
Bonus: here is a nice infographic with simple ideas to stimulate your creativity.