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5 simple ways to increase your creativity (even if you think you're not creative)

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Do you have tons of great ideas, but hardly turn them into action? Or do you find it difficult to get new ideas? Even the most creative people in the world sometimes experience a phase like that. Lots of artists keep staring at a blank canvas now and then, and writers are all too familiar with the phenomenon of the writer’s block. 

 So: let’s praise simple tricks to channel your inner creative. These tricks also work if you don’t have a creative job, or if you think you lack any creative genes. 

1. Change your routines

By acting differently, you start thinking differently. Tomorrow morning, don’t start with a cup of coffee while you answer your email, but go outside for a walk. If you usually work on creative projects at night, try and see what happens if you start working earlier in the day. Change of scenery is also very beneficial for creativity. Try a new coffee place, a park or any other place that gets the juices flowing. 

2. Avoid digital distractions 

Internet is a valuable source of inspiration (where would we be without Pinterest?), but it’s also a continuous source of distraction. Which doesn’t benefit creativity at all. To be creative, you need to be able to focus on whatever it is you’re making or conceiving. The sounds of yet another email, text or Instagram-like don’t add to the creative process. Make sure you can’t be disturbed by digital distractors. Put off all notifications and, if you’re still tempted, put away your phone. 

3. Schedule deadlines 

Doesn’t sound like fun, but it works great. If you make an appointment with yourself, to finish the end product of your daydreaming at the end of the day (or week, or month), it pushes you to find inspiration in yourself and everything around you. And especially: to just get started. This tip works even better if you share the appointment with someone else. Tell your partner you’ll show them your concept tonight, or ask a friend to come and admire your new homemade patchwork blanket. A deadline helps you to focus. After all, you want to be ready by then…

4. Start (and finish) challenges

A 365 day project helps to do something creative every day, no matter how small or simple. Some ideas: photograph your cat every day, draw a different plant each day, make a new breakfast dish or write a small poem every day. You can also create a new challenge every month. Turn October into photography month, November into writhing month and December into macramé month. The only way to keep challenging and learn new things, is by doing. 

5. Get enough sleep

The image of artists making their best work at night is quite romantic. But a lack of sleep doesn’t make you any more creative. After a good night’s sleep you’re sharper, all charged up for a new day, and you just achieve more. Rest can be a big boost for creativity. And it helps to plan your days in a similar manner. Go to bed around the same time every night, and get up at the same time too. 

Text: Sanne Eva Dijkstra - Photo: Jed Villejo