The Calculated Creative

8 Essential Skills to Boost Your Creativity

Staying inspired to create is crucial for success

Whether you’re a designer.




Or just looking to think outside the box.

We all have natural creative tendencies.

But developing those skills can take your craft to the next level.

Here’s 8 essential skills you can use to boost your creativity:

1. Learn Something New

Learning a new skill or exploring a new subject area activates your brain in new ways.

Staying curious and expose yourself to new:
- Ideas
- Perspectives
- Ways of thinking

Consider taking a class either online or in person to learn a new skill.

Choose a subject area that interests you but that you don’t know much about to expand your thinking.

Read books and articles to gain knowledge about the new topic.

Learning a new artistic medium like:
- Painting
- Pottery
- Digital art

Can also give your brain a creative jumpstart.

Allowing yourself to learn new things regularly will keep your mind active.

And open to new creative possibilities.

2. Daydream and Brainstorm

Make time each day to:
- Daydream
- Imagine
- Brainstorm

Let your mind wander without censoring yourself.

No idea is too silly or outrageous during a brainstorm.

Capture all your thoughts and ideas without judgment as they come to you.

Write them in a notebook.

Record voice memos.

Or jot down notes on your phone.

Revisiting your brainstorming sessions later allows you to pick out the most promising ideas.

And develop them further.

Schedule 10–15 minutes for solo brainstorming every day.

3. Collaborate and Discuss

Find a partner or group of people to collaborate with.

Verbalizing and discussing ideas out loud helps make nebulous thoughts more concrete.

Other people’s perspectives will expand your thinking in new directions.

Brainstorming with a group can provide even more input.

A creative partner can also give you motivation and accountability when your personal inspiration lags.

Share ideas.

Give each other feedback.

And build on each other’s concepts.

Look for collaborators who have creative strengths that differ from yours.

4. Reflect on Your Work

Build time for reflection into your regular routine.

After finishing any creative project, think about how it went.

What went well with the project?

And what could you improve next time?

Analyze your creative process from start to finish.

Look for insights about your strengths and weaknesses.

Regular reflection helps you solidify your creative process.

So you can begin to replicate past successes.

It also aids personal growth by identifying areas for improvement.

5. Make Time for Observation

Mindful observation is a fundamental skill for any creative person.

Train yourself to notice subtle:
- Details
- Patterns
- Textures
- Colors

Look at your surroundings with fresh, curious eyes.

Observing and interacting with others is important.

But also reflecting on your own experiences and thought processes can provide inspiration.

The more sensory input you can gather…

The more raw material you have for creative output.

6. Practice Active Listening

Listen to what others say without interrupting them or letting your mind wander.

Focus completely on the speaker both verbally and nonverbally.

Let their words and ideas spark new associations and ideas in your own mind.

Listen for deeper meanings.

When you actively listen to others with an open mind…

You gain access to an endless source of inspiration from your interactions.

7. Break Routines and Seek New Experiences

Don’t let your inspiration dry up by repeating the same:
- Routines
- Habits
- Activities

Get out of your comfort zone.

And Expose yourself to new:
- People
- Places
- Ideas
- Sights
- Sounds

Unfamiliarity shakes up your mind.

Puts new thoughts into motion.

And fuels your creativity.

Try new foods.

Visit new neighborhoods in your city.

Have conversations with strangers.

Take a different route to work.

Small changes add up to big stimulus for your mind.

8. Know When to Disconnect

While exposing yourself to new inputs sparks inspiration…

You also need downtime for your brain to make creative connections.

Schedule periods to give your mind a rest from external stimulation.

Try things like:
- Taking walks in nature
- Listening to music
- Meditating

Turn off screens and distractions.

Allow your brain to wander without an agenda.

By balancing activity with rest and reflection you enable deeper inspirations to take root.

The Takeaway

Cultivating these habits requires effort.

But pays off exponentially in your creative output.

With sharpened skills of:
- Observation
- Listening
- Reflection
- Openness
- Rest

Your creative capacities will thrive at any age.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

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