anthropology · behavior · cognition · work

Inspire Creativity at Work With All 5 of Your Senses | Mashable

Work IS  a fully engrossing experience, so why not enhance all of those experiences?

You’ve probably heard of the debate about whether open offices or the oh-so-dreaded traditional cubicles are better in the workplace. All these discussions revolve around layout and arrangement, but did you know that ambience is equally (if not more) important for inspiring workplace creativity?

If only the interior designer had known that people working in white offices are more likely to complain of nausea and headaches, or that dim lighting jump starts creative freedom, your office might be a much happier place. In fact, the best offices engage all five senses — everything from colors and music to smells and tastes — to maximize your productivity and creativity.

Read the infographic below to decode why your office might be holding you back, and discover small things you can do to unleash your team’s creative powers in no time.

more via Inspire Creativity at Work With All 5 of Your Senses.

behavior · creativity · happiness · writing

Finding time to do what you love is harder than it sounds

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Shared by Orangette and What The Cool Kids Are Reading, an article by Anne Lamott about finding time to do the activities that truly fulfill you:

…creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.

…the bad news: You have to make time to do this.

This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity—cell phone, email, text, Twitter—steal most chances of lasting connection or amazement. That multitasking can argue a wasted life. That a close friendship is worth more than material success.

more via Finding time –

It’s harder than it sounds theoretically (I can certainly testify to that), but I also agree with Lamott that it is sooo worth carving out time for.

What are you willing to give up in order to achieve your creativity goals? So far I have given up what little TV I already watched and this week living off the giant roast and yams I made on Sunday (it’s now Thursday), rather than attempting to create a brand new gourmet meal every night.

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to get the creative need filled?

behavior · brain · cognition · creativity · learning · play

Why we need play and relaxation to think

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These little guys need a break just like your muscles. Image via Wikipedia

The brain is an amazing thing. It allows us to problem solve, combine ideas, and create out of seemingly thin air. But only if we let it.

As a play advocate, I run into a lot of people grumbling that play takes away from learning; but the fact of the matter is, play is ESSENTIAL to the learning process. More and more science is showing that the brain needs that down time to process what it’s learned, digest it a little bit, in order for us to use it for any useful purpose.

People who study creativity and innovation are aware of this all too well:

Current neuroscience research confirms what creatives intuitively know about being innovative: that it usually happens in the shower. After focusing intently on a project or problem, the brain needs to fully disengage and relax in order for a “Eureka!” moment to arise. It’s often the mundane activities like taking a shower, driving, or taking a walk that lure great ideas to the surface. Composer Steve Reich, for instance, would ride the subway around New York when he was stuck.Science journalist Jonah Lehrer, referencing a landmark neuroscience study on brain activity during innovation, writes:

“The relaxation phase is crucial. That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers. … One of the surprising lessons of this research is that trying to force an insight can actually prevent the insight.”

keep reading the Developing Your Creative Practice: Tips from Brian Eno :: Tips :: The 99 Percent to hear Brian Eno’s take on creativity and how he puts his brain to work.

It’s nice to see that science is finally taking relaxation and play seriously. I just wish the rest of the world, or at least our education system, would too. I know my work would benefit greatly if I took time to just relax and contemplate things more, to relax and let my brain explore a little bit. Hmmm, another exercise to try…

behavior · creativity · design · psychology · writing

How The Mundane Can Produce Creativity

I subscribe to this business blog, The 99 Percent (Success is 1% inspiration, 99% determination), that typically offers business strategies and stuff, but this article I found really interesting; the idea that having a ritual around your day actually allows your brain to focus on being creative:

You follow the same routine, sipping your coffee, browsing your email, skimming through the same blogs, the same news pages, the same social networks. As your colleagues arrive, you exchange the same greetings, the same gripes and gossip. As you drain the cup, you get the same itch for the same music, take your headphones out and plug yourself in. You open the same blank document, give it the same hard stare. The music kicks in.

Now you can begin.

If that sounds anything like your morning routine, you’re in good company. Over the years, as a coach and trainer, I’ve heard a similar story from hundreds of creative professionals. Of course, the details will vary – if you’re like me, your trip to work will be the “30 second commute” known to freelancers the world over, and you’ll be making your own coffee. You may incorporate meditation, or other exercise into your morning routine. And you may use a camera, easel, guitar or whatever instead of a computer.

But the chances are you’re living proof of one of the great paradoxes of creativity: that the most extraordinary works of imagination are often created by people working to predictable daily routines. There’s even an entire blog (sadly now on hold) devoted entirely to accounts of the Daily Routines of writers, artists, and other interesting people.

more via How Mundane Routines Produce Creative Magic :: Tips :: The 99 Percent.

It says the 3 common threads of these rituals are:

  1. Uniqueness – it should be something (or a combination of things) you don’t associate with other activities, otherwise the effect will be diluted.
  2. Emotional intensity – the kind you experience when you’re really immersed in creative work.
  3. Repetition – the more times you experience the unique trigger in association with the emotions, the stronger the association becomes.

Athletes, actors, and even accountants have these rituals, so why not creative types? What about you, what behaviors or rituals do you have to help you concentrate on being creative?