Mindfulness in the creative process

According to Thomas Edison, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. But finding that 1% can be challenging. As a creative, I’ve always been perplexed by the way “ah-ha” moments manifest themselves without warning. But through my career, I’ve learned a few helpful tips to prepare and guide me on the right track to finding my inspiration.

Tip #1: Creativity must always find you working. 

Good designers make it look easy, but don’t be fooled. There’s always a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears behind any successful idea that takes place in the preliminary period before you even start designing. This phase is often referred to as the “incubation period,” and during this time designers are encouraged to research, gain knowledge and soak in as much as they can regarding the client or topic at hand. Because knowing the subject matter will ultimately help foster and create more insightful connections later on in the process.

Tip #2: Get over your fear of rejection. 

Putting yourself out there and not caring what people think of your work can have significant impact on your own personal growth and be very beneficial to your team. As shame and vulnerability researcher Brene Brown says, “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” While sharing your ideas without hesitation may be easier said than done, studies have shown that vulnerability can help people connect on a creative level and has proven to lead to increased collaboration, productivity and cohesiveness.

Tip #3: Please do not disturb.

At Grafik, we’ve recently dedicated a spot in our office where work meetings are off limits. It’s a space intended to be a safe zone where anyone can go to think, wonder, and be left uninterrupted. Admittedly it can be challenging to find downtime on a regular basis thanks to tight deadlines, internal meetings, emails, and whatnot; but even in small doses, some quiet time can have a big impact on your creative thinking. According to a survey conducted by Invision and the IDC, 77% of respondents reported that communication failure as a result of a disconnected design workflow had significant impact on one or more customers. If you’re in a rut, try to find a space where you can be uninterrupted.

Tip #4: If all fails, put on some running shoes.

Some people prefer taking a walk during lunch, but I’m more of cardio girl. When my schedule permits, I’ll hit the nearby gym or go for a quick run to clear my thoughts. Studies have shown that exercise can improve certain types of cognitive efforts involved in creativity. And on a personal level, my creativity thrives when there is an emotional balance. Nothing feels as healthy as nice dosage of endorphins right in the middle of your work day.

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