Dream & Do

How do I be more creative? Through 'Incidental Creativity'....

Tara SheltonComment

When was the last time you did something creative?

Not a rhetorical question - I actually want you to think about it.

As we get older, our routine can get a little Groundhog Day (not in the fantastical Bill Murray way, in more of a “I’m re-living the same monotonous day over and over” way.) We get up, we go to work, we come home. We live for the weekend and there’s little time leftover for anything else, let alone any time for creative pursuits.

Creativity isn’t just reserved for the artists, the writers and the makers. Sure, they might get to practice creativity as part of their daily work, but there is room for creativity in every industry and getting in touch with your creativity can benefit you in many ways.

Creativity breeds resourcefulness, it aids in problem solving and it’s the not-so-secret ingredient to innovation, causing you to look at projects and issues in a whole new light.

Resourcefulness, problem solving and innovation - three things that are not only useful in any field of work but also in everyday life.

So, how do we become more creative? Changing up your routine can sometimes be enough to get those creative juices flowing but in a time where ‘busy’ is the new black and it’s trendy to be time-poor, there are many ways you can incorporate creativity into your day without having to interrupt the hustle.

Dream & Do have a solution. We’ve even coined a name for it and after a quick Google search, we are pretty sure we can claim it as our own…

Introducing Incidental Creativity, kind of like incidental exercise, in that you find ways to naturally incorporate the practice of creativity into your everyday life.

REVISIT YOUR CHILDHOOD

This one isn’t as easy to incorporate as the others but considering your playful curiosity and imagination peaked as a child, it is well worth getting in touch with your inner five year old.

If you enjoyed drawing as a child, perhaps bring a doodling pad and pencil along on your daily commute. If you learnt an instrument, pick up where you left (even if that was Beginners Piano Level 1) and see if you can remember any tunes. Or, if you’ve got kids, instead of reading them a bedtime story, have a go at making one up on the spot. There’s nothing like a bit of improv to reignite your imagination.

I often invite my next door neighbour Claudia over to hangout. She’s seven years old, but that hasn’t stopped us from becoming pen pals and friends. During the school holidays she popped over for a painting sesh, something I loved to do as a child and haven’t done since then, and it was so refreshing to be in the presence of someone who is fearless in their creativity.

I found myself thinking so hard about what to paint and how to make it look good, I even began tracing from a book to get it perfect - meanwhile, Claudia just went for it, without thinking twice. That freedom is something we lose sight of as we get older so spending some time getting in touch with your inner child is not only good for your creativity, but it’s good for the soul.

 A sample of my handwritten treasures from 7 year old neighbour and pen pal, Claudia.

A sample of my handwritten treasures from 7 year old neighbour and pen pal, Claudia.

GET LOST

Not literally, but also kind of literally. You know those times where you are so distracted scrolling Facebook that you happen to miss your stop on the train? You find yourself having to get off at a different station and navigate a different route home.

Usually the go-to emotion in this sitch would be annoyance. We’ve all been there, huffing and puffing over the inconvenience of it all, but what if you were to stop, take a deep breath and look around at your unfamiliar surroundings with curiosity?

When I moved to a new city, I got lost a lot. Like, A LOT, but instead of getting annoyed everytime it happened, I decided to change my perspective and look at my getting lost as a bit of an adventure. When you change the way you perceive things, you are more open to making new discoveries, not to mention, your problem solving skills get a workout and you can find inspiration in the unfamiliar.

Since becoming a mother, I’ve had a lot of late nights and sometimes I find myself so alert that I’m better off pulling an all nighter and getting some work done, than tossing and turning in bed.

One morning recently after such a night, I decided to go for a walk. In my buzzing state, I took the wrong route at Cremorne Point, ending up somewhere completely different than I had intended, but I happened upon a community garden near the nature reserves. I loved the idea of a communal garden kept by locals and I immediately began brainstorming ways I could incorporate a community aspect into my greater vision for Dream & Do.

Instead of getting annoyed at myself for getting lost, I acknowledged the idea that had blossomed as a result.

 The sign that I ran into which inspired a community idea for Dream & Do.

The sign that I ran into which inspired a community idea for Dream & Do.

CONVERSATION STARTER

We’ve all had one of those moments where we look around and notice just how many people have their head buried in their phone. You see it in cafes, shops, on the train. Sometimes it’s nice to block out the world and tune into some music but just think of all the inspiring conversations you could be missing out on.

They don’t even need to be your conversations - we don’t like to admit to eavesdropping but it can be really interesting to listen in on the odd occasion and hear what other people are talking about.

However, we don’t suggest going out of your way to listen to people, so no holding glasses to doors or creepily edging closer to hear private convos. Just let yourself tune in next time you’re out in public. Who knows what those ears might hear when they’re not stuffed with uncomfortable headphones!

Conversations with strangers can open your mind to new ideas which equals increased creativity, which makes me feel a tad better about my unkickable habit of chatting up random people. I remember heading into a shop by the name of Wellness by Kate, purely to ask the shop assistant to tie my shoelace for me (I had my hands full with my newborn, Estelle and coffee, ok….)

It was Kate herself that helped me out and we got chatting about her wonderful naturopathy/wellness business and my business. She’s now a client of Dream & Do, simply because we struck up a conversation. If that isn’t proof of the power of conversation, I don’t know what is!

CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

It’s so easy to retire to the couch after a long day and spend the night flipping between stations. Rather than mindlessly consuming whatever is on TV at the time, why not pick up a good book, find a new podcast to listen to or hit up a Netflix doco?

When I’m at the newsagents, I prefer to skip past the Who Weekly and Cosmo in favour of a new mag. Just this week I picked up a copy of Living Now. I’ve never read it before but there’s bound to be plenty of new info and ideas in their to spark my creativity and learning.

You will get a lot more out of consciously choosing what you consume and it’s likely that you’ll learn something new in the process, which is a great way to fuel your creative side.

 A sample of my random reading collection, keeping my thoughts and ideas as original as possible.

A sample of my random reading collection, keeping my thoughts and ideas as original as possible.

MASTERCHEF IN THE MAKING

We all eat, which means that we all cook (unless you have a personal chef) so why not get a little creative during your time spent in the kitchen?

It’s so easy to get into a meat-and-three-veg habit, so we recommend you try a new recipe every now and then. Or if you prefer to live life on the edge, wing it and see what you can come up with using the existing contents of your cupboard and fridge. Creative problem solving at its finest!

Recently I set myself a challenge to make my breakfast a little more aesthetically pleasing. I ended up with a brightly coloured mandala-type arrangement on my plate, which got me thinking - how cool would it be to sit down with a group of pals and order a large scale breakfast mandala?! Imagine a mandala like the buddhist monks make, but made from eggs, bacon, toast, berries, bananas and whatever else you fancy for breaky.

I thought up this whole new breakfast trend simply from getting a little more creative with my own morning meal.

 All things bright and beautiful..breakfast art!

All things bright and beautiful..breakfast art!

TAKE A HIKE

Steve Jobs was famous for it and Mark Zuckerberg has literally followed in his footsteps. No, we aren’t talking about their achievements in tech innovation, we are talking about their love of the ‘walking meeting’.

If Jobs and Zuckerberg aren’t enough to get you off your a%#e, a recent Stanford University study found improvements in creative thinking while a person is walking and during the short period after they return. Another study saw a 60% increase in creative output when participants were standing as opposed to sitting.

By the way, these findings aren’t just limited to walking. Exercise in any form is a good way to boost creativity so hop on your bike, take a hike or hit the gym.

But when it comes to walking meetings, the wise and eloquent technology consultant, Nilofer Merchant says it best...

“Walking meetings not only liberate the butt, they liberate the creative juices.”

GET PINNING

We love moodboards at Dream & Do so you can expect us to be totally on board with any suggestion that requires us to board our mood…

We also waste spend a lot of time scrolling through social media and while it is a great way to stay connected, all too often we find ourselves stalking the Insta feed of our best friend’s ex-boyfriend’s mum’s cat. Sure, Fluffy is cute but she isn’t adding a lot of value to our day.

If you find it hard to put the phone down, perhaps trade in Facebook for a more productive app. Pinterest is a favourite of ours because what other app allows you to create the digital moodboard of your dreams?

If you’re like me and you need something a little more tangible to keep you motivated, why not print out your pins, get crafty with some scissors and glue and create a real life pinterest board to hang in your workspace? Get creative and get pinning!

Practicing incidental creativity not only benefits different aspects of your life and work thanks to its effects on resourcefulness, innovation and problem solving but research has also found a strong connection between creative expression and overall well-being.


This means that incorporating creativity into your daily life could potentially make you a happier person. Who knew a little creativity could go such a long way!