A lot of people claim that they’re “just not creative,” but the good news is that it’s a skill that can always be developed and refined—no matter how bad you are at designing things or coming up with brilliant ideas. And, according to a World Economic Forum study, it’s expected to become the third most important skill for job seekers by 2020.
For that reason, we’ve collected seven tips to help you start working out those creative muscles of yours.
1. Take a Walking Break
Research has shown that the simple act of walking can boost your creativity, and it doesn’t matter if it happens inside or outside—so get moving!
2. Read More Fiction
Long story short: Reading fiction opens your mind, allowing you to be more comfortable with ambiguity and minimizing your need to make quick—and sometimes irrational—decisions. So, pick up your favorite book and get skimming!
3. Get Into Heated Debates
Turns out that environments that encourage discussion and debate result in more (and better) ideas. So don’t be afraid to speak your mind in your next conversation—it’s for the good of creativity (as long as you’re not burning any professional bridges).
4. Let Your Mind Wander
Ever wonder why your best ideas seem to come when you’re doing something mindless, like taking a shower? The human mind isn’t meant for constantly focusing, so letting your mind wander during routine “autopilot” tasks will actually inspire creative insight.
5. Create Content
If creating content isn’t part of your job, find a way to inject it into your work. Whether it’s drafting a departamental newsletter or helping boost your company’s social media presence, it’s likely that there’s an opportunity somewhere for you to exercise your creativity.
6. Take a Power Nap
Not only will taking a quick nap make you more creative, it’ll boost your productivity, too. Not sure if it’s acceptable for you to nap at work? You might want to read this article.
7. Use Your Vacation Days (Seriously)
If you’ve been looking for a good excuse to buy that plane ticket you’ve been eyeing, this is it. When you’re working on the same thing every day, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re actually doing. Taking a vacation allows you to take a step back, recharge, and reflect so that you’ll come back to work with a fresh (and more creative) perspective on things.