How To Be Creative 09: Do Experiments. Lots Of Them.

Mornings larks and night owls make for a fun debate on creativity. Which is better? What category do the most creative people fall under? Of course there’s no right answer, but most people have an idea of when their brains function best. However, there are many variables besides time of day when it comes to creative work.

Do you prefer a quiet studio space or a co-working collective that’s buzzing with activity? Would it be beneficial for you to get some midday exercise, or will several ten minute walks around the block suffice? Maybe a great conversation over lunch is the inspiration you need.

Everyone is different, but it’s absolutely worth the time to run some tests on yourself. With so much of our work spent staring at screens, I like to question whether that’s really the best use of time and the way to create something truly amazing. At the very least, I like to break up the monotony and shift from pixels to atoms.

Photo: Louis Reed

I know in the past, experimentation for me didn’t happen (like everything else in life) out of fear. I worked jobs where I knew any absence from my desk would have my boss believing I wasn’t doing my job — even when any reasonably intelligent person knows gluing your pleated pants to a chair and fixating on a monitor is hardly an indication of meaningful work.

We need to move past this. Find out what works for you. If you need to, talk to your boss about the experimenting you’d like to do and what you hope to learn. Explain how it will help you be more productive and creative. Record your progress and findings. What ideas did have the days you decided to go for a jog? What about the days you took the time to cook yourself a solid breakfast? That day you ate fish tacos and laughed uncontrollably with your best friend? Share the results to prove you’re genuinely interested in improving. Many careers would be better served by a little creativity, and if your employer doesn’t get that, maybe it’s time to start looking for a job that’s better suited to you.