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? Which category do most creative people fall under? Of course there’s no definitive 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 creativity.

Do you prefer a quiet studio space or a buzzing co-working collective? 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 experiments. With so much of our days 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 once in a while.

Photo: Louis Reed

In the past, experimentation for me didn’t happen out of fear. I worked jobs where I knew if I wasn’t at my desk, my boss would think I was slacking — even when any reasonably intelligent person knows gluing your pleated pants to a chair 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 experiments 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 you have on the days you decided to go for a jog? What about the mornings you ate a solid breakfast? That day you met up with the best friend for lunch? Share the results and prove you’re genuinely interested in improving. Many careers would benefit from a little creativity, and if your employer doesn’t get that, maybe it’s time to start looking for a job that supports you trying out some new things.