5 Ways to Hack Your Creativity—Backed by Science
You might not realize that creativity has a measurable effect on your brain function. Science has shown that blood flow to your frontal cortex increases when you’re engaged in a creative task. Creativity can boost neural pathways and measurably increase your cognitive function.
Here are five tips backed by science that will help you encourage your creativity and increase your brainpower.
- Go into a brain-training mode
You can think of your creativity as a kind of muscle that responds to exercise. Just as you work out at the gym, you can go into training and encourage new connections throughout your brain. The easiest way to do this is to schedule regular screen breaks throughout your day. Get your brain out of scrolling mode and into active thinking. Allow your mind to wander, daydream, and muse.
- Change your environment
You may not realize that your brain responds to changes in your environment, even small ones. Rearrange your desk, or work in a different office or have your team meeting in a café or park. Contextual changes big and small act as creativity nudges, making your brain sit up and take notice, make adjustments, and solve different problems.
- Learn something completely new
It’s natural for humans to want to stay in their comfort zone, but you can kickstart your creative thinking by learning something completely new. It can be as challenging as learning a new language or taking a ceramics or metalwork course.
Whatever you choose, your new learning will help your brain develop new ideas and ways of thinking. And these new ways of thinking promote more creative thinking in the workplace.
- Write it down!
Whenever you have a new idea, make sure you write it down in a notebook or on your smartphone. It’s one of those quirks of human nature that you often think of something when you’re in the shower or driving or just dropping off to sleep, situations where your brain is free to roam around and come up with solutions.
You can be guaranteed you won’t remember that phrase or question later, so make sure you write it down as soon as you can. It doesn’t have to be the whole thing, just a few words to prompt your memory later will do it!
- Set yourself some challenges
It’s easy to slip into regular routines of thinking or problem-solving at the office or home. Your brain gets bored and detaches, making it harder to think creatively. You can give your brain a kickstart by setting yourself challenges. Try and get that presentation done with a time limit, or do some brainstorming with colleagues.
Not Every Storm Yields Crops
Here’s a dirty little secret you might now know: Brainstorming doesn’t always yield results. In fact, despite how often a good brainstorming session is presented as the ideal solution to a creative block, very few good ideas come out of them.
The problem? Not much thought is put into the ideas getting thrown around. So all those crazy creative ideas don’t hold a lot of value. Sure, you might get some off the wall stuff, but how usable is it?
The better solution? Have a discussion session where everyone takes the details of the problem and sits down to present their best creative ideas. The true value lies in a frank discussion where ideas can be dissected, then put together again in brand new ways, leading to well thought out solutions.