(Editor's Note: This is the third and final part of a three-part series where we asked Creative Consumers® associates how they are staying creative at home, and how others can stay creative while working from home.)
“At our core, if we do not feel comfortable not much aside from the focus on discomfort gets done.”
— BECCA, Creative Consumers® associate
As an innovation company, we're doing our best to maintain our spark during these sometimes creativity-challenged days at home. Looking for a bit of inspiration, we wondered—how are our Creative Consumers® associates (the most dynamic thinkers we know!) staying creative within the confines of their homes? We used the Inspire® Consumer Insight Accelerator (which fields consumer responses to questions, along with images to supplement each response) to collect their thoughts.
Based on their responses, we identified three key themes for staying creative from home:
- Get Creative With Your Family
- Get Outside
- Get Comfortable
Once we found the themes, we asked a few Creative Consumers® associates to elaborate on their answers further, and provide some specific details about how they stay creative at home...because we can all use some tips from the experts!
In Part 1 we focused on Getting Creative With Your Family. In Part 2, we focused on Getting Outside. In Part 3 we'll turn our attention to how Getting Comfortable induces creativity.
Theme #3: Get Comfortable
Comfort is defined as you see it. If a cup of coffee gets you comfortable, drink some coffee. If listening to music relaxes you, listen to music. If you have a zen den designed for ultimate relaxation, go there. Being comfortable can spur creativity. The mind gets distracted by discomfort—so eliminating those distractions frees it up for the task at hand. Just don't get so comfortable that you fall asleep!
Words from a Creative Consumers® associate: Becca
Think of how we started as babies, then as kids, adolescents—and now, adults. At our core, if we do not feel comfortable not much aside from the focus on discomfort gets done. The foundation of creativity is comfort.
Vastly thinking, comfort is more than the physical. For example, you can be in a cramped subway car experiencing external discomfort, when a poster in a tunnel catches your eye. Let’s say you have been working on embracing, rather than judging, your thoughts (mental comfort) and boom!! The stroke of genius you needed comes, and you now have the missing idea for your new product, blog post, or even wedding proposal.
The idea of learning to view my thoughts non-judgmentally came whilst sipping a cup of tea. I held my cup the way they do in commercials, looked out the window, had a moment of silence and asked myself, "How are you feeling?" I took a pause, and responded. I followed up by asking myself, "Why?"
Practicing this simple self check-in has improved my days immensely. It’s important learning and respecting your individual "center." Since the morning of awareness, I actively seek mental comfort (breathing, private dance parties, cups of tea, the choices are yours). Set the stage for yourself.
Below are a few get-comfy suggestions for the uncomfortable creative.👇
Step One is learning about mental comfort. Once you have a handle, and then strengthen that ability, the sky is the limit. Do you know the comedian Steve Harvey? He lived in a car for 3 years. That was nowhere near easy; despite the drain, he had his brain steer him. From a car without much, he wrote jokes that got him to his life now!
This is not a starving artist recruitment or advocacy. I’m stressing the importance of learning to be comfortable with you—no matter where you are. Fingers crossed, if you have the luxuries we take for granted, cherish them. Use them to your advantage. Does your space need a good sweeping? Clothes need putting away?
Step Two is making a gratitude list. Did you Wake up in a safe home? Have clean drinking water? Clean water you could access without a miles-long journey? Did someone go out of their way to make your day by saying hello? What detail (from small to large) could go on your list?
Step Three is do it! Whatever it is. Do it. That 1,000 step journey beginning with the one step makes total sense. You can’t get half, or quarter of the way without starting. If it’s a love letter, put the pen and paper out the night before—so all you have to do is start. If it’s revamping your resume, choose the template a day earlier so all you have to do next time is start.
All in all, respect yourself from the inside (thoughts), and the expression will reveal itself outwardly. Be gentle with yourself like you would a happy baby.
Words from a Creative Consumers® associate: Lisa
Creativity, to me, isn’t just a moment of inspiration, but a mindset where I continue to feel inspired. Inspiration, for me, is the opposite of feeling stuck. Feeling stuck, more often than not, results from questioning myself so much that I can’t even see that my own thought loops are what is blocking me. The experience feels as though I can’t get one cloud of thoughts to float by—when the reality is that the clouds are just so thick, so full of questioning, and “yes, but”-ing myself, that I can’t even find the real inspiration in the storm of my own thoughts.
When I realize this is my reality, my favorite way to clear the storm—so that clouds of inspiration can float freely across my psyche—is to meditate in my Zen Den. My Zen Den is a place in my apartment that makes me feel comfortable. For me, that means sage, palo santo, candles, crystals, my journal, my sheepskin rug, and comfy pillows. When I feel stuck, I promise myself to go sit and breathe for just two minutes. What this pause does is change my environment, which changes my thoughts. Without the Zen Den, I am left to try to strong arm myself out of my own thoughts, which is really a fruitless task. Thinking my way out of thinking is never going to work. Often, the first minute or so of forcing myself to change my environment is hard, but in the end, this moment of comfort and quiet is exactly what I need to reset and let my creative thought clouds flow. It often makes me wonder if my childhood time-outs had some meditative origin. Although, my time-out chair as a child certainly didn’t have crystals and sage burning—but who knows, maybe it should have.
Thinking my way out of thinking is never going to work. Often, the first minute or so of forcing myself to change my environment is hard, but in the end, this moment of comfort and quiet is exactly what I need to reset and let my creative thought clouds flow.
— LISA, Creative Consumers® associate
Creativity comes in all forms and can strike at random times. But by getting the mind comfortable, we can free some mental resources and re-focus them on the creative task to achieve great ideas. Thanks to Becca and Lisa for their tips! And if you haven't read Parts 1 or 2 yet, check them out here:
- Part 2—Staying Creative at Home: Tips from Creative Consumers® associates, Get Outside
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Tyler Thompson is a Creative Process Designer and Facilitator at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.