*This is the second article in the Cultivating Creativity series- How to Inspire Creativity [Part 2: Your Environment]. In Part 1, we discussed How to Be More Creative: Your Actions. Part 3 discusses How to Increase Creativity in the Brain: Your Subconscious.
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How to Inspire Creativity [Part 2: Your Environment]
Unlike productivity, creativity does not thrive in order.
It is not the result of careful planning, meticulous preparation and concerted effort.
Rather, creativity can blossom in the most unlikely environment. At the most unexpected times. In the ways we least expect.
It can be borne from seemingly mundane, ordinary things - being creative does not mean inventing something completely new out of nothing.
And it’s not a talent that some people are born with and others are not.
We are all inherently creative and we can learn to inspire creativity in ourselves.
One of the best ways to be more creative at work or enhance your creativity when it comes to art, music, writing, thinking, or just life in general is by controlling your environment.
Things like sound, light, color and clutter can either make or break your flow.
So, why not design your space to inspire creativity?
Here’s how to make your environment an inspirational space in which you can do your best creative work!
Pick Your Place
The first step to designing a creative environment is picking your place.
Think about where you do your best work.
Would you prefer to sit outside or in an office?
Do you want to be secluded or surrounded by activity?
Also, consider things like the placement of the room.
Where, and at what times of day, does the light come in?
What’s the view like from the window?
How’s the flow of traffic through that area?
Is it likely that you will you disturb anyone by working in your chosen place? Will anyone be able to interrupt you?
Whatever suits you, pick your place and make it your own.
Inspire Creativity with Chaos and Clutter
Although it sounds counterintuitive (especially if you love to keep things organized like me!), it’s true.
According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, creativity often comes at the expense of order.
Creativity often comes at the expense of order.
Having a perfectly organized environment tends to promote following tradition and convention, whereas disorderly environments encourage creative thoughts and behavior.
But, the trick is to choose the right things to fill the space.
You don’t want to have a hoarder-sized collection of objects, but you do want to have some things to spark creativity.
So, choose some objects that reflect your focus. Things that inspire creativity.
If you’re working on a novel, maybe have some of your favorite books in view. If you’re an artist, maybe surround yourself with fabrics, artifacts, artistic mediums, antiques or oddities.
But, you don’t have to pick only things that make sense or things that are connected to your work. It can be anything that inspires you.
Choose things that make you comfortable and happy and things that put you in the right mood for what you are trying to accomplish.
*I have an assortment of healing crystals, wands, worry stones and orgone pendants that I always keep on my desk. I’ll rotate out different ones depending on my mood.
Enhance Your Creativity with Background Noise and Classical Music
In law school, I used to work at a picnic bench out by the pool in the quad where there were always lots of people and loud music.
And now I know why!
According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, a certain amount of ambient noise is conducive to creativity.
Contrary to popular belief, secluded/soundproofed rooms are not the best place to focus.
It actually helps to have moderate levels of distraction.
There are even some free apps like Coffitivity that help inspire creativity by playing ambient coffee shop noises.
Another beneficial sound to have in the background is classical music.
According to a study by professors from Radboud University and the University of Technology Sydney, happy classical music enhances creativity.
Study participants who listened to upbeat classical music outperformed those who listened to sad, anxious or calm music before starting a task that required creative output.
*Do you listen to classical music? Some of my favorite “upbeat” ones are: Mozart- Divertimento in D Major & Symphony #40 in G Minor, K 550 Molto Allegro, Vivaldi- 6 Violin Concertos for Anna Maria & Violin Concerto in A Minor RV356, the Brandenburg concertos, and Albinoni - Oboe Concerto #2 in D Minor Op. 9.
Inspire Creative Thinking with Light and Color
Capture Your Creativity with Light
I’ve always hated the bright, fluorescent lighting of offices.
And apparently, so does creativity.
According to a series of studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, darkness and dim lighting are more likely to inspire creativity.
Softer light helps us to feel free from traditional constraints (like work) and nurtures a more creative environment.
I absolutely love working in cold, stormy, overcast weather. There’s something about it that I find so exciting yet soothing at the same time!
However, you may find that your creative inspiration comes in the height of summer with the sun ablaze.
Whatever works for you, use it! There are tons of lighting options to choose from and ways to enhance the natural light (or other features) of a room.
Inspire Creativity with Color
Another thing to consider if you want to inspire creativity is color.
A lot of people are afraid of color and tend to stick to neutrals. But, that’s just leaving a whole bunch of untapped creativity on the table!
Plenty of studies have noted color’s ability to influence mood, state of mind, creativity, and induce other physiological changes.
Once again, I think it’s best to see what works for you personally.
I love lots of color but you may find that crisp, white surroundings with minimal color sparks your creativity.
Try playing around with color or adding some accent pieces to your environment.
Your space should be one that is uniquely yours and one that inspires creativity in you.
The next article in the Cultivating Creativity Series- How to Increase Creativity in the Brain- [Part 3: Your Subconscious]- will be published next week.
*Source: The Secrets of Creativity: Find Your Inner Genius (2019). (paid link)
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Over to you … what inspires creativity in your environment? Let me know in the comments!
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