5 Ideas to Boost Creativity At Work

Have you ever been like me? Knocking out projects without thinking, not using any creative brain cells at all because everything has become so routine? Another request comes in with a reasonable due date, but the pressure of perfection is louder that the inspiration of curiosity?

I tend to get wrapped up in this debacle quite often at work. In a sporadic outburst I embrace a new creative course, get excited about it, produce encouraging results, but after the execution, I fall right back into the same old boring routine of normal work. I get the work done but without any extra effort. I know the minimum requirement needed to put a smile on my client’s face and that’s the level I work at.

I get wrung out dry and don’t push myself to a level I know I am capable of reaching.

I know all work is different, but I am sure some people who do not specifically work in the field of Web Design & Development can relate. However, I will be connecting principally with this crowd. I will lay out a few ideas I’ve stumbled upon that can help both you and me achieve a more creative outlook on work and inspire us to dust off our brains a bit and dive into what we love. These ideas will not only enhance our learning but in addition, rekindle the joy for design and development we might have buried a while back during a frustrating project.

1. Seek out Inspiration and use them.

Did someone say Google?! Seriously, guys, the web is overloaded with a variety of helpful material in any and every field you decide to embrace, you only have to look. Yes, it’s that simple. Ok, maybe not that simple but pretty close to it. Surf the web for new and exciting websites out there. See what the pros are putting together and become inspired. Try to incorporate what you find and are excited about in your work and slowly leave behind those comfortable shoes you’ve torn to threads.

Ok, so you browse the web, come across this beautiful website that has cool and enticing work and you sit there thinking, “Aww man, I wish I could do that”. Hey there bud, you can! You only need an open mind and the ability to embrace learning and failure (Psst hey, a secret between you and me… “everyone is capable of this”). So go out there and start stealing…I mean turning people’s ideas into your own of course.

Here is a google chrome extension I use that bombards me with ideas and inspiration by just opening a new tab. Hope it helps you out too ;).
Link: https://muz.li/?ref=ext

2. Identify improvement areas in your work and improve on them.

Everyone can improve because no one can ever reach perfection. Even if someone could reach “perfection” in one moment, it wouldn’t do them any good because of the ever-changing trends technology ensues.

If you ever hit a mindset where you think “everything is known to you”, please think again. There is a ton of knowledge available to you for learning if you adopt the right attitude.

As developers, it becomes super easy to allow dust build-up while improving in our field. We become comfortable with what we produce and how we produce it even if it’s not the best we can do. We know there is room for improvement in our code and work, but we just don’t have the time to change it because “it works”. We think, “The client is happy and my boss seems happy with it, so it’s ok right?”, wrong. I really hope for your sake it’s not about pleasing your boss and developing work he/she would be proud of, but rather, personalizing and improving, using more than just your boss’ perspective as a guide. You are your own person and need to actualize standards for yourself in your work.

Find those unhelpful trends you devised and alter or abandon them depending on what you know would benefit your work and work ethic.

3. Embrace a new but thriving coding practice even if it seems difficult.

I cannot say this enough, there are so many coding practices, frameworks, technology stacks, processors, languages, everything out there to delve into. They are all there for the taking, but lacking the ambition from developers to partner with.

We can stay stagnant in our knowledge or embrace the new and exciting. One thing is true, though, coding will always improve, leaving us in the dust if we let it.

If we become honest with ourselves, embracing a new coding practice is more daunting than difficult. We put up a barrier that forces us to assume learning is painful even before actually approaching the task. If we attempt to learn the new and intimidating even for an hour, we come to realize it isn’t as difficult as we had imagined. We also come to realize how beneficial that new practice is in our work.

See what’s out there. Find something you think can benefit you and others around you and work on it, crafting a more efficient and knowledgeable developer.

Use tools such as these to develop your craft: CodePen, Github & your localhost.

4. Don’t ignore the critical but encouraging voice in your head.

Do you hear that voice telling you to add a comment section in your CSS? Or maybe that voice telling you to find a more efficient way to write that javascript? Or maybe it’s telling you to write CSS for that function instead of using javascript? Yes, I am sure we all have that teacher voice in our head, taking the best practices we have learned over the years and using them to critique our code on a daily basis. If you are anything like me, though, you tend to ignore that voice pretty frequently (now it actually is starting to sound a bit like school). You convincingly remind yourself that you don’t possess the time and effort to tackle the code that voice is referring to. However, if we are honest with ourselves we know we can at least attempt the changes.

Instead of impetuously ignoring this voice, let’s maybe listen more attentively? Listening to the voice and acting on it will only make your code more clean, efficient and effective, I promise.

5. Talk with trustworthy teammates and encourage one another.

This one doesn’t need much explaining because the title does a good job of encapsulating it all.

There are times when only listening to your inner critical voice isn’t enough. Sometimes there needs to be a verbal spill towards people who can relate but also to people you can trust. Verbalizing with trustworthy teammates can empower us to initiate steps 1, 2 and 3. We can open up with our concerns and fallbacks and capitalize on the willpower of two or three instead of one.

If you have never done this before I would highly recommend finding someone or a group of people and encouraging one another.

Truthfully it can sometimes feel impossible to dig out of this irritating hole. To turn the intensity gauge up and shift from a mindset of boredom to creativity. But I promise it’s not impossible. It is 100% doable but takes a few jolts of diligence and inspiration.

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