Routine can be our best and worst friend; familiar habits help foster productivity, but at times the monotony can stifle our creativity. A company’s structure (or lack thereof) plays a significant role in employee performance. Even though it has become increasingly popular for corporations large and small to embrace flexible hours and the ability to work remotely, many companies still adhere to a strict “9-5” policy. This might be because of the nature of the position (you can’t accomplish much remotely if you’re in the medical field, for example), or because your manager prioritizes face to face interaction.
For those of us who are creatively-wired — not only the graphic designers and artists but also the right-brained with day jobs in finance, medicine, public relations, etc. — strict office hours can actually stifle productivity and workplace motivation. Recently we discussed the benefits of adopting a side hustle, but there are other simple ways to get the creative juices flowing at work.
You might be surprised at how a slight change to your routine and a bit of fresh inspiration can improve your overall performance and morale.
Take a look at our tips below for how to foster your creativity during the workweek while still respecting the standards set by your employer.
Set your alarm clock back by 30 minutes.
If you’re not already a morning person, a simple schedule change could be the solution to your creative fatigue. Wake up 30 minutes earlier and ease into your morning by taking time for something that inspires you, rather than letting your inbox set the tone for the day. Utilize those extra minutes to meditate, flip through the newspaper, browse Pinterest, cook a delicious breakfast, or simply to sip coffee while reading a book.
Taking time for your personal interests before you step foot in the office will encourage you to conquer the day ahead.
Guilty of hitting snooze too many times? Join the club! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t carve out time every morning. When you do wake up a little earlier, jot down how that extra time affected your day; the results might encourage you to officially adopt “a morning person” title.
Seek a new experience each day.
When stuck in the same surroundings for too long, your energy levels are likely to deflate. To rejuvenate, take fifteen minutes a day to seek a new experience. This could be as simple as walking around the block, popping into a store, changing your morning coffee order, or picking up lunch from a different place. Any little adventure outside of your typical routine will help bring a positive perspective to your daily tasks. For an added creativity bonus, document some of these outings on social media as a little exercise in photography and copywriting.
Grab coffee with someone who inspires you.
There are few things more refreshing than gathering professional advice from someone who you admire. Make an effort to reach out to mentors, colleagues, or career idols and offer to treat them to coffee in exchange for words of wisdom. Penciling coffee chats into your workday calendar will give you an encouraging pick-me-up in an otherwise typical week. You can weave these rendezvous into your morning routine, or schedule them on quiet Friday afternoons.
Volunteer your creative talents at work.
Even if your scope of work does not include creative tasks, there might be opportunities to contribute to your company in a creative capacity. Take the initiative to demonstrate your Photoshop skills to design a graphic, snap photos at a company event, offer social media guidance, or create the presentation for your next group project. Showing off these skills will not only increase your value as an employee but also communicate that you are willing to venture beyond the requirements of your role. Flexing creative muscles that might otherwise lay dormant during a typical week will also encourage you to reframe long term career goals and determine which skills or aptitudes you most enjoy using.
Organize team brainstorming sessions.
After weeks of going through the motions at the office, it is likely that your whole team could use an inspirational boost. Introduce the idea of a recurring team brainstorm to gather new perspectives on current and upcoming projects. Changing the dynamic of how you usually interact with your colleagues will encourage a collaborative, creative energy. Think of it as team building without obligatory trust falls and name games. Suggest hosting the brainstorm outside for a breath of fresh air, or at an offsite location to ensure that everyone is relaxed. We like the idea of combining a brainstorming session with a few drinks at a nearby happy hour venue.