New guest author on the Shillington Design Blog! Arek Dvornechuck from New York is a brand identity expert and the founder of Ebaqdesign, his New York-based design studio. He believes in the power of good design and aims to bring clarity and simplicity to each identity project.
To date, Arek has worked with clients like Barnes&Noble, Nationwide, CapitalOne, Showtime, Beko and more as a senior designer at one of the top branding agencies—Chermayeff&Geismar&Haviv from New York. Since he went freelance a couple years ago, he leverages this experience for his freelance clients—mostly startups and small companies to create distinctive and memorable brand identities.
How can you be more creative, and more effective, so you can get more design work done in less time?
If you do not actively push yourself, you will not develop the creativity needed to get yourself going. Unleash your latent creativity in the quickest possible time by using my 10-step formula which involves using the right habits so that you can boost your creativity and your productivity too.
The following are 10 habits I and other go-getters have cultivated to boost our creativity:
1. Wake up early
The earlier you get up, the more hours you have to accomplish your goals. It’s also great to wake up early in the morning because that’s when the frontal cortex, which is the creativity center of your brain, has its peak activity. Great achievers like Benjamin Franklin and Picasso used this habit to powerful effect. You can develop this habit by setting alarms and avoiding naps, even if tired so that you sleep earlier and consequently rise earlier.
2. Be active
Physical activity including exercise, sports or even dancing can get you pumped for the day by systematically improving blood flow. Also, in the aftermath of physical exercise, the body releases endorphins that boost your mood, allowing you to focus on creative tasks.
Get your body moving every day to release endorphins so that will greatly increase your brain functions post workout.
According to a Stanford study, 90% of people are more creative after physical activity. This is the reason many creatives incorporate physical activity into their day and you can take your pick; from running to basketball to biking to yoga.
3. Be grateful
All the masters, including Tony Robbins, agree that being grateful is key to a happy life. Gratitude eliminates fear and anxiety and in this blissful state, creativity flows naturally. No matter how bad things are, there’s always something to be grateful for.
For instance, as a designer, you have the following things as an advantage:
- Technology: with it, your work is easier
- Knowledge: the numerous books you’ve read—including this article—and other knowledge sources have made you a reservoir of ideas
- Skills: the software you can use has made you a versatile creator!
- Opportunities: with the internet, you can connect clients instantly even if you live in a “shit-hole”
4. Eat healthy
Food is fuel for your body just as diesel as fuel for engines. The better the quality, the better your performance. So desist from seeing food as something to stuff your body with and realize that junk does not help because it makes you lethargic and unable to create properly. Also, realize that great food does not mean “sweet” food. Excess sugar is unhealthy and the number one killer in America, so replace them with fruits and eat as many greens as you can.
5. Immerse yourself
Half-hearted attempts do not breed creativity. Instead, immerse yourself deeply in your field and you will only get better at it. No matter how much you know, you can still know more. And there is a lot of time to practice so you can make perfection.
Constantly look for ways to get repetitive tasks done faster. Work smarter not harder.
Learn how to do certain things faster by using technology. It’s smarter to spend a little bit more time upfront by learning new ways of doing old things, which will save you much more time down the road.
6. Try new things
If you remain stuck on doing the same things, you’re likely to remain stuck where you are in terms of creativity. You can get better by trying new things including traveling to new places or simply by working from different places if you’re a freelancer.
To come up with new ideas, you must get out of your comfort zone. Do you realize that if you go to the same places, interact with the same people, see the same things and eat the same food every day, your brain can remain set in its ways? This is bad for creativity and so you should make it a habit to explore other places and cultures.
7. Observe and note
Don’t just go through life; actively take down all the things you encounter. You can do this mentally but even better, you can do it physically by writing things down. If you don’t observe, you will miss out on the inspiration that lies everywhere: on the train, in the cab, and in the coffee shop.
Always write down things that inspire you in the moment, so you can use it later when time is right.
Keep tabs on all that goes on around you and you’ll find that your greatest inspiration doesn’t need to come from a visit to the top of a mountain.
8. Don’t fear mistakes
Mistakes are propellers. Mistakes are teachers. Without them, we would not know when we have trodden wrong paths and might follow them for years only to meet a bleak emptiness at the end. Stop seeing mistakes as failures, and start seeing them as road signs.
9. Use procrastination
You must not do everything now. As long as you do it in healthy doses, you can use procrastination to line up your projects better and execute them more efficiently. Ask yourself: would you rather be faster or more creative?
Take some time off to pop some champagne! If you do not remove yourself from your work from time to time, you might start to lose your creativity. Even the most fruitful well runs dry if you draw water from it all year round so remember to take a breather and smell the roses.
Knowledge is not enough, it’s potential power, so you must follow through to get results!