When I first saw this office of publicity agency JWT, I thought: This is a place where I would love to work every day. It radiates creativity and openness and looks like fun. I reckon the people at JWT did not create this office accidentally, they probably consciously decided to furnish it the way they did.  I can well imagine why. Because who really gets inspired working on a cubicle island - those small workspaces in offices - all day? I reckon people go crazy at one point. As I always feel that you should challenge yourself to think different, have an open mind countering new situations and trust your qualities, working and living in a creative environment helps you to get the best out of yourself. And who would not want to be that creative genius at the office or among your friends? Luckily, there are ways to train your creativity. So here we go: My 6 favorite ways to stimulate creative thoughts.

I always have the best ideas when I am running around town, during my lunch break or at the gym. Movement clearly stimulates my brain. So if you have an office job, where you sit behind your desk all day, get out for a walk every now and then. It does not have to be long, 5 minutes can help you get out of that tunnel vision you created while sitting at your desk for the past few hours. No time to go outside? Just go and get some coffee or tea and talk to your colleagues for a sec. You will see that it will have a positive effect on the assignment you are working on. 

When you are out and about doing a million things at once, it can be hard to concentrate. Make sure you live in the moment and shut out the other chores you are also supposed to do today. You work more efficiently when you are working on one single task. The rest will come later. If you are really having a hard time concentrating, shut down your phone and e-mail for a sec, close your eyes and just think. 

Great creatives are able to take certain products, services or people out of their usual context and place them in a new one. Remember Duchamp, placing a readymade urinal in a museum? This might not be the greatest artwork - in the sense of paintings, sculptures, etc - ever made, but it might be one of the greatest ideas a human has ever had. Just think about context and qualities more consciously and try to merge the unexpected. 

We are all so busy on our phones, tablets and laptops these days. I cannot even remember the days that I did not check Instagram or Twitter every time I am waiting for the tram or my appointment to arrive. I realize that this really is not a great development. At least not if you are trying to be mindful and creative. I notice that I am way more creative when I take the time to read a book or story, whether it is fiction or non fiction. Also listening to music makes me more conscious of my thoughts and can even get me in the necessary mood to complete a certain task. And although not all of us understand why art is important, it really challenges you to feel and not label every brush stroke you see as a recognizable form. Music, art and books trigger your fantasy, while the news makes you more aware of what is happening in the world. These elements together are great sources of inspiration for every creative. 

I know it is hard, but routines make us go through life on autopilot. If you break them, you might learn new ways of doing things. For example, brush your teeth with your left hand for once and take another route to work every once in a while. You will see it makes you more conscious of your actions and discover things you did not know yet. 

Last - but definitely not least - is my rule that you should work hard and enjoy life at the same time. I really enjoy giving my best at work, but I could not live without my friends, good food and everything that Amsterdam has to offer. Are you listening to my Monday morning radio column on Amsterdam FM yet? I will tell you where to party this weekend. :-) 

What are your tips on stimulating creative thinking?


Images by Amsterdam Ad Blog and Home Design

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