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Enjoy the creative process: 3 ways to find focus

1. Play well with others

Social and group contexts contribute significantly to the creative process, according to Harvard Business Review. Users, customers, and audiences play an important role especially in commercial fields like graphic design. Companies and individuals must learn from internal and external influences. Workers are more motivated by challenge than financial incentives and salary.

“Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.”
Albert Einstein

How do we create group environments that encourage creativity? Open brainstorming sessions where all ideas are encouraged are one key tactic for unleashing creativity at work discussed by Boland Jones, CEO of PGi. It’s important to actively discourage negativity in these meetings. Write down every idea in a place that everyone can see them.

2. Follow your passion

Passion is key to creativity and helping us enjoy the challenge or working through the rough parts. You’ll have higher quality results and more of them if you love what you do, according to music coach Mike Monday. He suggests find ways to delegate the parts you don’t like. For example, an artist might have an agent to do their marketing or a graphic designer might have a book keeper to handle the gritty financial details. Your audience, fans, and clients can be informed of what you will and won’t do. Clients can be asked to do deep proofreading of your graphic design work, for example, leaving you to concentrate on the design.

“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”
Lady Gaga

3. Choose to be happy

It may sound quaint that happiness is a choice, however there is scientific evidence that a positive attitude is achievable there choice.  One experiment in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that trying to be happier changes mood levels. We can examine our thoughts to find positive truths. We can practice gratitude and focus on improving various skills to create more positive situations as we work.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

Only 10% of our long-term happiness is external, as Professor Javy W. Galindo wrote for Time Magazine. Research shows that how we think and what we choose to think about is what ultimately determines our happiness. Rather than look for the negative aspects of our lives and relive past problems, we can redirect our thinking toward what is going right and channel that into our creative process.

How to enjoy the creative process: 3 ways to find focus

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Brian E. Young

I'm a graphic designer (portfolio), classical pianist and artist in Baltimore, MD. I host the Uncanny Creativity Podcast helping to demystify the creative process and creator of Funlooksfun.com, an online shop for apparel and games. Twitter: @sketchee

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