When I was stuck in a cube, I desperately missed being surrounded by all things… creative. As a kid I believed I was creative, until my elementary school art teacher literally crushed my dreams. I still remember the picture I drew and how proud I was of it (an ant’s view of the world – think: grass and tulips), until the critique was delivered.
From that moment on, I started censoring my creativity – I stopped drawing and painting, I wouldn’t let anyone read what I wrote, I only colored between the lines with realistic colors, and I tempered my inner creative voice and vision for the next 20+ years.
And when I looked around my gray cubicle and saw how boring it was, lacking any color or pictures that made me smile, I felt like I hit a low point and I wanted to run as far away as possible.
I need color, I need pretty notebooks and colored pens, I prefer colored staples and paperclips – but I was conforming to the corporate standards because I forgot how much those simple things made an impact in my mood and outlook. So here are seven quick ways for you to ignite your inner creativity from your cube!
- Buy a pack of colored pens – have them sitting out on your desk and use them. One of my favorite packs is the Pilot Precise V5 set: it writes super fine and the pack has normal (blue, black, red) colors and some fun ones (pink, green, purple).
- Put a pop of color inside your notebook/day planner – it may be difficult to switch over notebooks immediately, but it’s easy to get one of your favorite images, a pop of color, or a pretty saying in postcard size, and tape it to the inside of your notebook. No one but you will see it, but it will make you smile every time.
- Colored staples – I know, it sounds super corny, but I get more comments and smiles from this than anything else. They are around $4 from Target or Michaels and come in a variety of colors. I keep regular staples on hand too, for larger more visible projects, but for everything small, I staple with color. My favorite is the pink, yellow, teal, and blue pack.
- Put a picture up – you don’t have to go all decorator on your area, but make a picture (or find one online), that energizes you. Perhaps it’s a strong color block or a design; but find something that speaks to you and keep it in a place where you can always glance at it. I put mine right beside my monitor – no one else could see it, but it made me smile throughout the day.
- Start your day off with one song – music energizes your body and soul and can quickly change your mood and perspective. I try to start each work day with one song at my desk, just for me. My current favorite: anything from Pentatonix.
- Color – next time you run to the store, pick-up a coloring book and some crayons. While you’re watching tv or just hanging out, color. Be bold in your coloring and dare to color outside of the lines!
- Start doodling– in meetings, we all have the urge to do something with our hands, especially if the meeting is dragging on. So go ahead – doodle! Stop holding yourself back from letting your creativity wonder. Studies have shown that doodling actually helps with memory retention, and believe me – no one can tell the difference between taking notes and doodling, so stop worrying about that.