Subscriber OnlyLife & Style

How to be more creative: Start by making small changes to everyday life

You don’t have to be artistic to have creativity in your life

Not the “creative” type? The fact is, you don’t have to be artistic to have creativity in your life. “Creativity spans more areas of your life than you realise,” says psychotherapist Monica Haughey of the School of Conscious Living. Everyone has the potential to be more creative and taking a more creative approach to how you live your life can be transformative, says Haughey.

Being more creative can become a way of life that affects your whole life, she says. “It means recognising opportunities and possibilities and not being constrained by how things were done before.”

How can I get creative?

You don’t need a paintbrush or a pottery wheel, you can inject a bit of creativity to life by changing things in small ways. “Vary your daily life and expose yourself to new influences,” says Haughey. “Take another route to work, have your tea at a different time, say hello to colleagues you haven’t spoken to before,” she advises. “To be creative, you need some space and you need stimulation from other people and ideas. Conversations can be creative. They feed into your existing ideas and give you new ones.”


But I’m not the creative type

Creativity isn’t owned by painters, poets and musicians. No matter our skills or job discipline, we all have the potential to “create anew”, says Haughey. Try adopting Bobby Kennedy’s famous adage to your work, she suggests: “Some men see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’

“Suggest a better system at work, maybe that’s developing an improved queuing procedure for customers, shortening an admin process or using less expensive rawl plugs,” says Haughey. At the very least, change makes things less boring and it may even make life better. “Didn’t Einstein say something about, we can’t expect to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results?”

Choose the right employer

Ever wonder why some companies have relaxed dress codes and looser norms around how to behave at work? “They want to recruit thinkers and leaders rather than followers,” says Haughey. “The environment in these companies signals that staff can bring their personalities to work, and that includes their ability to innovate and suggest new ways of doing things.” If you value creativity in your life, choose an employer who prioritises this too, advises Haughey. “A rigid workplace values conformity. A creative workplace allows individuals more freedom to be themselves.”

Vary your work environment

Creativity can be stimulated by a relaxing and comforting environment, says Haughey. It’s hard to be creative when you are feeling stressed. Pre-pandemic, when office working was the norm, employers splashed cash on inviting breakout spaces with sofas, lamps and even the odd chair swing. If you are working from home, give thought to your environment or vary things by spending the odd day at a remote work hub. You could even go back to the office now and then. Mixing things up can spur creativity, says Haughey.

Go on a date, with yourself

Take the advice of The Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron and have a weekly artist’s date with yourself, says Haughey. “Going to a gallery, a play or the cinema can all prompt us to see the world anew,” she says. “A walk in nature on our own can nurture our creativity too.” Travel if you can.

“If we do the same things the same way every day, we are less likely to be creative or see the world differently. Regular health and exercise routines can be really good to do every day but it’s good to shake that up too. Invite in new ways of doing things and you might get new outcomes,” says Haughey. Most of us are enlivened when we do something differently or try something different.”

Joanne Hunt

Joanne Hunt

Joanne Hunt, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about homes and property, lifestyle, and personal finance