One of the biggest challenges, and in my opinion one of the most fun aspects of agency work is the requirement that you are always ready to be as creative as possible. Creativity is not usually something that can be turned on and off like a light switch, but when you are in the agency world or the marketing world in general, your creativity needs to be at full hilt from at least 8-5 and then some.
How can you make sure that your creativity is being maximized day in, day out over the course of your career? Here are five tips to try to follow.
1. Brainstorm with a partner
Especially if you are feeling a little bit stuck, brainstorming with one or more co-workers can be extremely helpful. Other people can offer you a fresh perspective if you have had your head buried in the project for a long period of time. Additionally, if your creative ebb is running a little low perhaps someone else is reaching their creative peak right at that same time. They can help lift you up and give you more creative energy. Who knows, someone else might even give you the spark you need to plow ahead.
2. Don’t be afraid to close your door
If you have a door, don’t be afraid to use it. Sometimes the creative process needs to progress uninterrupted. Do your best to get everyone on your team exactly what they need so you are not holding anyone up, and then isolate yourself so that you can concentrate. If you handle this properly no one will be offended or confused.
3. Walk around
Sometimes the worst thing you can do is continue to stare at your computer or your blank piece of paper. Ideas tend to work their way into your brain when you are occupied with something else. Sometimes a brief walk around the office is enough to get your creative juices flowing, especially if you can take some time to walk outside on a nice day.
4. Try not to shoot down others’ ideas
One way to nurture the creative process in your work environment is to make sure people feel comfortable submitting ideas that are raw and undeveloped. After all, that is how ideas evolve and become full-fledged concepts. Particularly if you are in a brainstorming session, avoid the temptation of saying things like, “Oh, I don’t like that.” Give every idea a chance to breathe, carefully analyze, and then make some decisions. This will make people feel more confident about throwing ideas on the table. It can create a much healthier environment in general as well, of course.
5. Allocate your time intelligently
Try to monitor how your own creativity works. For me, I know that my best time to write and think spans a particular time of the day. I can certainly make it work at any time, but if I can, I organize my day so that any writing and concepting can be accomplished during a time when I know I tend to be most “on.” You can’t always organize your time in the ideal way, but when you have the flexibility, try to work around your strengths. Save more manual type tasks for those times when you need ideas to roll around in your head and assign writing blocks to times when you are most likely to be effective. Honor those kinds of time allocations in others as well, as much as possible.
How do you nurture and enable the creative process where you are? We’d love to hear from you!
Five Tips Friday: Enabling the Creative Process