Tag Archives: office

5 Ways to Foster Creativity in the Workplace

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

When working, creativity is my most important tool. It guides me through the challenges of a complex project. It helps me refresh my approach to explore new solutions.

But, creativity doesn’t appear out of nowhere. It’s not the kind of thing you can summon into life as soon as you’re sitting at your desk. Creativity is not a skill; it’s a state of mind – but that’s not to say you can’t train your mind the same way you might train your muscles. So what are some ways we can foster creativity for better workplace performance?

Clutter-free offices free up your mind

The mind wanders when you sit at your desk. Imagine you’re a writer. You’re at your desk, your fingers floating above the keyboard as you wait for an idea to appear. Your eyes instinctively scroll past the contents of your office. The desk is filled with discarded coffee mugs, piles of documents and books that lie flat on top of it all. The shelf behind you spills contents onto the floor: More books, dusty knick-knacks, some stationery still in the packaging and an open bag of chips. Yikes! Messy offices lead to a clogged up mind. Conversely, a clutter-free workplace can do wonders for your imagination.

Sensory experiences improve the imagination

Sensory experiences enhance creativity. Listening to music can take your mind on a journey of self-discovery, emotional enlightenment, or merely melancholy – depending on your playlist. Similarly, the smell of fresh flowers or manipulating gooey playdough can open new horizons. Without senses, the mind doesn’t know how to experience its surroundings. Consequently, sensory deprivation, as a result of a health issue, can represent an obstacle. However, not all situations are without a solution. Perhaps, instead of a downfall, we can view hearing aids as a way to boost creativity. Glasses or dedicated eye surgery as a means to improve our view–not just literally but figuratively, too. 

Smile!

So, here you are, ready to work, but you can’t get your mind off an awkward conversation you had with a friend. You’re still angry about it, and somehow, it remains at the front of your mind. Or maybe it was an altercation with a rude client that occupies all your thoughts? Whatever happened, it’s time to let your mind break free. Take a deep breath and smile. Yes, you read that right: smile. Studies show that the act of smiling can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. (Fake it ’til ya make it!) Consequently, you’ll find the anger, the frustration and all the thoughts about what you could have said will gradually disappear leaving room in your brain for those creative juices to start flowing.

Exploratory mindset and inspiration

If you don’t see or try anything new, it’s fair to say you won’t be able to create anything new. Same old routine leads to same old ideas. As a person seeking creativity, you need to push the boundaries of your comfort zone to explore what is happening on the other side. For some people, this might mean traveling abroad. For others, it could be trying out new activities or going to see films and plays you wouldn’t normally choose. The more you see what you’re not used to, the richer your mind becomes.

Don’t believe the unhealthy artist cliché

Finally, if you’ve been loving the idea of the recluse artist who lives only on coffee and the occasional cigarette, it’s time to reconsider the habits that foster creativity. Indeed, the food you eat affects your brain health. Avocados, for instance, improve cognitive function, both memory and concentration. Beets help with mental performance. Blueberries protect your brain from degeneration and stress. (An idea my mom espoused on a recent visit and now my husband says “PREVENTCHA DEMENTIA!” whenever I pull a tub of bluebs out of the fridge, lol.) In short, a healthy brain can process new ideas quicker and better! So, look after your main creative tool by feeding it right!

How do you deal when you’re in a creativity rut at work? I’d love hearing your tips in the comments!

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DIY: Picture Frame Desk Organizer

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If you’ve been peeping around these parts for the last couple months then it is no secret that I’m having a bit of a love affair with Dollar Tree. I love making super simple DIY’s but I hate spending a ton of money. Add to that the fact that I discovered Pocket Letters and suddenly I’m jonesing to go to DT every other week for craft supplies and stationery finds.

In need of a new project, I decided to see if I could create an inexpensive gift to dress up a desk. I came up with a desk organizer made from a picture frame and some fabric. This would make a really cute gift for the teachers in your life. Or shipped off to a dorm dwelling college student. Or to welcome a new co-worker to the office! The best part? It allows you to tuck in a few stationery goodies you think the receiver might enjoy. Something that Dollar Tree is PERFECT for. So, check it out! Here’s how to make a Picture Frame Desk Organizer for six bucks…

What you’ll need: 

Besides a couple materials I had on hand, scissors and glue, here’s what I picked up at Dollar Tree…

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  • 8″x10″ picture frame
  • metallic gel pens
  • post-it notes (how stinking cute are these???)
  • notebook
  • 2 fabric place-mats (Note: You could just use any ol’ fabric. But if you do, you’ll need to create a sturdy edge for the pockets by folding the top down and sewing a border. I’m lazy and wanted to limit my materials to Dollar Tree items. If you’re like me, go for the place-mats or fabric napkins!)
  • envelopes

and how it all comes together:

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Take the picture frame apart. You won’t need the glass or that lovely (fake) family portrait.

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Cut a piece of the place-mat to fit the frame. This is the back piece so you won’t need to worry about borders. Just make sure it fits well.

Note my Sharpie-labelled “Fabric Only” scissors. #classy

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Now cut two additional pieces WITH BORDERS on the top edge to serve as pockets. Leave a little bit of room on either side so you can play with how much “give” your pockets will have. To do this, pop everything through the frame without securing it and run your finger through the pockets. Once you’ve loosened them to your liking, trim the edges.

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Since you’re using a crappy Dollar Store frame you’re going to need some re-enforcement. I went in with my trusty E6000 glue all around the frame where the fabric will lay. I flipped the lined up fabric, cardboard, and frame backing over into the frame…

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…then I removed the frame backing and put some glue on it as well. (Note: You’ll see above that there’s a piece of cardboard half the size of the frame. This frame didn’t come with the cardboard that a lot of frames do so I just cut my own out of an Amazon box. If your frame comes with cardboard I would recommend cutting it down so it only lays above the pockets. This will balance everything out while still letting you get the frame closed.) 

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Squeeze everything tight while the glue drys! Or, if you want to (again) follow my lazy lead, you can use giant binder clips. (I weirdly get a TON of use out of these clippy dudes.)

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Once the glue is dry you can fill up your creation with all sorts of goodies! Feel free to embellish the fabric and pockets with sewing notions or cute pin-back buttons if you like.

I was having way too much fun thinking about other stuff you could tuck in your desk organizer so I put this “look” together too…

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…highlighters, crayons…and who wouldn’t love a Starbucks gift card clipped on front? You could also include paper clips, pencils, tablets, paintbrushes, cards, stationery paper, letter opener, book-marks. The possibilities are endless!

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What do you think? Who would you gift with this little DIY? What would you tuck inside? Do you have any other cheap and easy crafts you think make great gifts?