Creativity can be a fickle thing – just ask any writer, artist or musician! However, when it comes to creativity for lawyers, we can take a leaf out of others’ books and use their well-tested techniques to help us overcome mental blocks, inspire new thought directions, or simply find an alternative solution.
Creativity is like a muscle, in that the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. The more challenges, exercises and stretches our creativity undergoes the more defined, reliable and strong it will be.
If you are struggling to advance your creative flair, or need some tips to get you started, the following information will help set you on the right path:
1. Collaboration & Mentoring
The saying goes that ‘curiosity killed the cat’, but the rejoinder ‘satisfaction brought it back’, hints at the advances that can be made if you have an inquisitive nature. ‘Satisfaction’ is experienced when a resolution arises, a problem is solved, or an obstacle removed, due to your initial curiosity.
Learning to advance your creativity through your curiosity into another’s knowledge, or thought processes, can lead to a positive advancement for all those involved. A student can learn from a teacher, but a master can also learn from the uniqueness of youth.
However, creativity is rarely a random flash of genius, but is instead learnt through collaborating with experts, painstaking research, and masses of experience.
Collaboration with other lawyers, mentoring with partners within your firm, and advanced research techniques, will help you develop your creative intuition.
Never be afraid to ask for advice or help when searching for a creative solution. Learning from others is just like reading a book, or watching an instructional video; you are given insights into a different way of thinking, new skills and talents, and unique experience and knowledge.
Asking for feedback from mentors, peers, or friends can be useful (even if they have limited legal experience) as a fresh perspective can stimulate new avenues of thought and spark creative ideas.
2. Creativity Boosting
Creativity and love are intertwined. When we are fulfilled it is easier to become more creative, so in order to improve our chances of success, we should utilise interests that we love in order to ignite our creative spark.
For instance, if you love running, consider going for a run before a big day at the office. The run will help you relax, fight stress, and allow your creative energies to flow freely.
Or, if you play an instrument, losing yourself in your music will deliver the required relaxation and creative inspiration necessary for you to receive a creative boost.
Taking time out of our busy schedule to allow for creative boosting stimulus is vital to creativity.
3. Relaxation, Rest and Recuperation
Rest and relaxation are vital to body and brain health. Sleep serves to rejuvenate our body’s cells, discards brain ‘waste’, regulates moods, and supports learning and memory functions. If you aren’t getting enough sleep it can have a negative impact upon your creative abilities.
Neglecting your mental and physical health (through lack of sleep and effective relaxation) can lead to depression, overwork, lack of creativity, physical illness and increased stress.
If your creativity has been lacking consider taking a break; have a long walk, nap on the plane, take a weekend off for camping, or simply, get an early night.
We all have those nights where we’ve been mulling over a problem (before going to bed with it unresolved) to find in the morning, once we wake from sleep, the solution is at the forefront of our minds. This is due to the work the right side of the brain, the creative area, does while sleeping. It processes difficult issues during sleep and helps you formulate a decision upon waking.
Often, your best ideas will come when you’re not wracking your brain trying to come up with the right answer. Instead, they come while you’re walking, swimming, resting, or even sleeping!
4. Industrial Inspiration
Looking at what your competitors are currently doing, or how they handle issues and creative ideas will only take you so far.
Instead, consider looking at different industries for ideas that might be transferable to your firm.
Research which businesses in your local area are dominating the scene at present. What concepts do they use frequently to increase workload? How do they manage their staff? What sector do your most loyal clients come from, and how and why do they use your services?
Finding the answers to these questions will give you an insight into other industries that can then be applied to your firm, employees and interactions with clients.
Boosting your creativity with fresh ideas and inspirations from other sectors is a great way find new ways of working, and improve upon your own business methods.
5. Walk for Creativity
Did you know that the average person sits for between 7 and 10 hours each and every day?
This surprising statistic gives an insight into why office workers often find a decrease in health, mood and creativity when starting an office based role.
According to the charity JustStand.org the 4th risk factor for global mortality is physical inactivity, with 3.2 million deaths each year due to inactivity.
Sitting down all day isn’t good for your body, or your mind.
Walking has also been linked to improving creative thinking; Stanford research showed that people who engage in walking are more creative and engaged.
To combat this issue in the office try holding ‘walking meetings’, use the stairs not the lift, get up from your desk at least every 30 minutes, and walk instead of using the car whenever possible.
Getting out and about in nature can have a huge impact upon our ability to process information, maintain a balanced state of mind, and improve creativity.
Flexing your creative muscles at every opportunity is a must if you wish to preserve your creative abilities and maximise brain and body function.
Lawyers at risk of leading sedentary working lifestyles must remain conscious that brain health is inextricably linked to body health.
Improving your creative abilities becomes easier with collaboration, through relaxation, and with exercise. Use it, don’t lose it!