Creativity is a skill that many jobs require today no matter what field you work in. It’s a word I hear dropped by many a recruiter. After all, thinking creatively can help solve problems, generate new ideas and look at things in a different way.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to creativity. The first believes that some people are born creative and have a knack for solving issues in a different way and naturally think outside the box. The other believes that by tweaking your environment and daily routine, anyone can become more creative, something that will not only add to the quality of your life but also enhance your business.
But is it really that simple? I often get stuck in situations where I feel my creative juices have run dry, yet I have a vast imagination and always tend to look at things differently. Even so, I often face the frustration of struggling to come up with an idea for a client or find a solution to a problem. So what do I do? I break the cycle.
What I have discovered is that creativity is a skill we can all acquire over time. Even if someone is born creative, their creativity can be enhanced by a slight change to their routine.
Here are a few suggestions to develop your creativity and enhance your work life:
Read, listen and watch
Start by reading biographies or articles written by like-minded individuals in similar fields. Reading about how they tackle problems and solve them could help you with your master your own challenges. Also keep up with publications in your field. If you like a quick read, opt for a blog or tune in to trade podcasts. Surprisingly, certain fictional books can also help enhance your creativity. Mitch Albom, for instance, is a thought-provoking novelist who has helped me look at matters from a different angle. If you are more of a visual person, then I highly recommend watching Ted Talks.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to work alongside inspirational and creative figures. If you do, watch how they talk, how they solve problems and come up with product solutions. If you attend conferences and panel discussions where people you admire are talking or debating, then observe how they speak, how they structure their arguments and how they think.
Try new things
Who said you only need to be good at one thing? Nowadays, people develop skills across many levels that have helped them with their career. Taking up a sports class, for instance could help boost your mood and in turn positively affect your work. An art class could give you a new, fresh perspective, and a dance class could introduce you to clients. Use your time to not only stick to one thing, but to do things out of enjoyment that would also enhance your career and overall well-being.
Go out and meet people
Yes, that’s right. When I used to get stuck on ideas, I’d drop everything and head out for dinner or to watch a movie with a friend. Things would then untangle on their own. Sometimes, pressuring yourself to work can have a reverse effect, and even hinder the process. When you cannot find a way out of a problem, that is your cue to do something completely different. I often find that a simple walk is the remedy needed.
Sometimes the reason we do not have the answers we are looking for is because we did not ask the questions. Raise your questions to the panellist you attended a conference for, or ask your manager or colleagues if you are unsure what is missing from a project. Never be too shy to ask for help.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter