Recently IBM surveyed 1,500 chief executive officers from 60 countries and found the number one factor that CEOs use to predict future success is creativity. Being creative allows CEOs to adapt to market changes, and adopt innovative new practices.
However the research noted that despite its importance, most CEOs have little time to develop their creative skills. Mason Currey, author of Daily Rituals, found some of history’s most creative people all shared one thing in common: They all had developed a habit around their creative skill.
As a leader, you should also develop a habit around your creative skills so you don’t have to spend too much time thinking about them.
Here are five ideas to help you get started.
Create a morning routine
From Steve Jobs to Benjamin Franklin to Margaret Thatcher, having a morning routine can help you set up the day for success. The power behind morning routines lies in willpower. As soon as you wake up, willpower is at its highest peak. This can allow you to focus on the most important and difficult tasks of the day. However, as the day goes by, it starts to deplete.
A morning routine can also help you create a structure around your creative work. Instead of waiting for the muses to show up, you create a habit that makes your brain ready to work at the right time.
According to a study by the University of British Columbia, “Spontaneous thought processes — including mind-wandering, but also creative thinking and daydreaming — arise when thoughts are relatively free from deliberate and automatic constraints. Mind-wandering is not far from creative thinking.”
In other words, daydreaming helps you free your brain from your daily responsibilities and direct your energies to more creative pursuits. By exploring possible scenarios through daydreaming, you nurture and spark your creativity.
Your brain is in a constant battle for attention for new information, which forces you to multi-task, hurry to get things done and focus only on what’s on your to-do list. That stress can make you lose control of your thoughts, focus and vision. When that happens, you need to stop and meditate.
The benefits of meditation have long been known. Despite its high effectiveness, meditation doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes a day. You can also meditate anytime you want, whether it is while you eat, answer your emails or in between meetings.
It’s well known by most creative people that doing almost anything other than sitting in front of a computer can be the best way to boost imagination and creativity. Regular exercise can be an incredible habit that can foster new creative ideas.
The benefits of exercising are not only tied to creativity, however. Exercising can also help combat depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and even Parkinson’s disease.
Give yourself a break
The idea of putting in long hours may be a sign of courage and a hard working ethic for most people, something our society values highly. Science doesn’t support this idea, however.
What makes your brain creative isn’t hard work or concentration — it’s dopamine. Our brain releases dopamine any time we feel good and relaxed. Therefore, anything that can take us to feeling great, like taking a shower, exercising, singing or listening to music, can increase the chances of having great ideas.