Here is a million dollar question every creative asks in the creative world.
So far in this weekly series, we are discussing a few big ideas around creativity from my POV as a creative.
Today we will dig deeper around what can you do everyday to enhance your overall creativity?
If there is one question, I spent most time on, this is the one.
Creativity is bread and butter for a creative career like mine. I can't afford to lose the spark because my clients pay me for my creativity in solving wicked problems. I can't mess around with such a core competence.
The curious cat in me was keen to know more about the innate quality of all creatives in the world because it is not just their knowledge and experience. It is much more than that. I tried to understand this innate quality by reading some books, listening to lectures or watching some documentaries etc. I realised it needs something more. To harness this understanding I did a number of real projects and a ton of experiments. It took me many hours of doing and reflecting to figure out what adds creativity to us exponentially. Finally I found what works and what makes us creative beings.
Brace yourself and let us get deeper into the idea.
One thing that sky rockets your creativity is parallel-tasking
Parallel-Tasking 🤔 I made up that word and such a thing doesn't exist in text books. As a neuro-nerd I can promise you this much: there is no multi tasking. Our brains can't do it. But it can do parallel tasking. Let me explain.
Parallel tasking happens when you run multiple projects at the same time in SLOW motion. Slow is critical here. The idea comes from Darwinian evolution and studying a number of amazing creatives who graced this earth like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and more.
Without further adieu, I want to share THE recipe for what it takes to get more creative.
Recipe for more creativity
Here are the steps you must follow for best results.
- Pick a number of projects that interests you.
- For each project prepare a bucket or a box to hold that project. It could be a notebook or a digital equivalent like a Notion doc. Put all things that project in that box or bucket. Your brain will thank you. Make the box like a vault for all things that project. This way you will free up more resources in your brain and it can act purely as a processing or thinking organ and not a storage organ.
- Do a number of projects in parallel. Most importantly do all the projects slowly. There is no hurry to finish a project. The more you push against a timeline, your creativity vanishes. So be aware.
- Doing different projects allows you to shift contexts seamlessly at the same time. Because it is slow there is no burn.
- Keep reflecting on the learnings of different projects and keep tweaking your projects.
- Continue this without worrying about the outcomes and outputs. Do it just for the pure joy. Keep documenting everything you learn. That is the hard part.
- Repeat for the rest of your life.
Without an ounce of doubt your creativity enhances exponentially over a period of time. I say this with utmost confidence because I live it. I have been doing this for a decade diligently and more rigorously for the past three years. I know for a fact that my creative muscle is a lot better than before. It has compounded for sure.
In many ways this is the secret of our super fast ideation, products, launches and campaigns at Xperian. It is not an over night thing. It is a result of many experiments over many years.
At any slice of time, I run at-least 10 projects in parallel. From gardening to calligraphy and everything in between, I run a number of slow parallel projects at a time.
You'll laugh if i say that, I learned all my leadership lessons from my chilli plant and my mango tree. I learned better typography from the straight and curved lines from my handwriting experiments. It made me tinker better with geometry and more. This sounds crazy but trust me it works.
At Xperian, labs is the first team we built. Even today the most active team is the labs. At a time, we have at-least 5-6 projects on.
In all honesty, most experiments fail. As a team we learn from the failures and launch better systems next time. The key is having many contexts running at the same time and our brains having an ability to latch on to different topics and different actions at a time in a slow motion.
Try this for just 10 days and let me know how active you feel inside you?
P.S: Secret of high energy at all times 😜
🎉 to parallel-tasking!