Keep Calm, and Capture Your Creativity (However You Can)

In spite of all the demands of the day, we have to be purposeful in carving out time, and sometimes a place, where we can allow our creativity room to stretch, breathe, and expand. Our creativity is probably what fueled the entrepreneurial bug, and we don’t want to run out of such a precious commodity. 

When I get wrapped up in projects, deadlines, and family needs, my head becomes stuffed, and my creative prowess can’t find its way out. I read an article in Forbes about steps I could take to ensure my creativity was getting a workout, but then I had to make sure that when I took those moments, I was prepared to capture the flow of ideas.

I take a photo. Technology has made capturing a picture easy. These days, whipping out a phone is the only thing I need to do to save an image of something that sparked an idea. I try to make notes on my phone at the same time so later, when I go back through my photos, I’m not wondering why in the world I took a photo in first place.

I strategically place note-taking tools. My office is my home, in more ways than one! If I take the opportunity to go for a 20-minute walk, placing a notebook and pen on my porch allows me to record thoughts and ideas before I ever step back in the house. This way, when the kiddos come a-running, I’m not scrambling for a piece of paper, and my thoughts aren’t getting lost. Those notes I jot down represent some of the best ideas I’ve had, and they came during those peaceful moments of fresh air and sunshine.

In the car, on the downstairs desk, in the upstairs extra room: there’s a notebook and pen everywhere. If I haven’t covered it up with my child’s winter coat, or lost it under a pile of bills, I try and grab one of those books when an idea comes. So, if I’m reading a book before bed, the notebook rests on my nightstand. When I’m waiting in the car pool line, enjoying a few moments of silence, I can take notes at a moment’s notice.

I say it out loud. If I witness my children learning a new skill during play (or during chores), I comment out loud about the ways that activity can be used for practical application. They hear it, and I remember it a little better later. Since I write education and parenting topics, this is the perfect way for my mind to generate ideas, and for me.

I turn off and tune out my email. You’ve heard this before; I’m saying it again. Don’t stop deep in the depths of a draft, project, or development of new product to check email (or voice mail, or text messages). You’ll likely sink into the multitasking mess, and might not make it back to the surface without having lost your ideas in the depths of the great unknown. Mail messages are there until you get rid of them. Just do it later.

How do you capture your creativity without losing productivity, and stay sane in the process?