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    10 science-backed creativity boosters


    By Emma Clark Gratton

    We’ve all had slumpy days where it’s hard to get out of bed, let alone come up with anything new. Luckily, the scientific world has proven tips and tricks to boost creativity.

    1. Clench your left hand

    Doctor Amantha Imber is a psychologist and the founder of an innovation consultancy. "When we clench our left hand into a fist it activates a region called the extention memory system. So when this is activated it promotes more unique thinking. In studies, the people who were not squeezing or were using their right hand and not their left hand, didn't have as many creative thoughts. So if you clench your left hand you will have more creative thoughts just through that simple action," Dr Imber said.

    1. Meditate

    If you are stuck on a certain issue and can’t move forward, it is easy to feel anxious and stressed. When panic strikes, try meditating: It promotes divergent thinking, a state of mind in which we’re able to generate new ideas.

    1. Write by hand

    Carrie and Alton Barron, the authors of The Creativity Cure, advise us to skip the Word doc and pick up a pen instead. Sometimes the whole experience of writing by hand—the feel of the pen, the smell of a fresh notebook—is all it takes to get creative juices flowing.

    1. Look at something blue or green

    According to the principles of colour therapy, the colours blue and green can promote creativity. Researchers say that’s because we associate blue with the ocean, sky, and openness in general, while green signals growth.

    1. Sit outside a box

    Though it might sound a little strange, in one study, people who sat outside a box (literally) were better at thinking creatively than people who sat in it.  No cardboard container handy? Try sitting in the hallway outside a room.

    1. Exercise

    We all know the benefits of regular exercise, but even just a short walk can reset your brain enough to kick-start your creativity. Plus one recent study found regular exercisers performed better on creative tasks than their less active peers did.

    1. Be psychologically distant

    Have you ever noticed that giving advice to a friend is easier than solving your own problems? This is because you are “psychologically distant” from your friend’s problem, meaning that the issue is not occurring in the present and does not affect you. According to a study from Indiana University, increasing the psychological distance between you and a problem boosts your creativity. You may also gain new insights and clarity by thinking about a problem more abstractly.

    1. Give yourself deadlines

    According to a study by MIT Sloan School of Management, setting self-determined deadlines for completing a project improves task performance and decreases procrastination. Simply give yourself a set amount of time to finish a task, and impose on yourself incentives for meeting the deadline and consequences for failure.

    1. Think like a child

    Picasso declared: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." But a recent study suggests that it's possible to regain the creativity we've lost to maturity. A few hundred subjects were assigned to two different groups. The first was given the following instructions: "You are seven years old, and school is cancelled. You have the entire day to yourself. What would you do? Where would you go? Who would you see?" The second group was given the same instructions, except the first sentence was deleted. After writing for ten minutes, the subjects were then given tests of creativity, such as inventing new uses for a car tyre or a brick. The students who imagined themselves as children scored far higher on the creative tasks, with nearly twice as many ideas as the other group. Picasso would be proud.

    1. Restrict yourself

    Famously, Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs & Ham after betting that he couldn’t produce a story using less than 50 words. The research shows Seuss was on to something. Most people naturally take the path of “least resistance” and build off of older or existing concepts when brainstorming, which can lead to less creative ideas. In order to put the brain in overdrive, you can mimic Dr. Seuss and place restrictions on yourself while creating, which will prevent you from falling back on past successes. If you usually write 1000-word short stories, try to create a story in under 500 words. Only use a small handful of chords in your song or colours in your design. The limiting nature of the task can bring out your most creative side.


    Emma Clark Gratton is the Head of Content at Creative Women's Circle, a staff writer at ArtsHub and a podcaster who, alongside her husband Lee, runs GRATTON, a timber furniture and architectural joinery company. She blogs occasionally at Worst House Best Street and posts endless photos of her sons on Instagram at @emmamakesthings.

    Tags: creativity, science
    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Advice and Tips | Comments Off on 10 science-backed creativity boosters
    Posted on

    Later.com for creatives

    cwc_2016-01-21_georgia-phase_insta-graphic_templateOne of the best assets we have for promoting our work and profile is social media. At a recent The Resolution Project event, this was illuminated when we had the opportunity to pose questions to a panel on any topic of current interest. Social media was a hot topic! The panel members Domini Marshall, Bec Mackey, Tess McCabe and Phoebe Miller  (chaired by Madeleine Dore) offered great advice on how to manage social media, especially around content management. Many of the participants were intrigued as to how to best use their time, and how to manage building a profile with specific audiences.

    "The best approach is to post two to three times daily to build your audience”  

    - Domini Marshall

    So I thought I would share my adventures into strategic social media management as I begin my new creative business and profile on Instagram. After the panel presentation, I was intrigued to explore platforms that would allow me to populate and schedule content. This is attractive to me as real time generation of content is not always possible. Plus, I’m very much looking towards productive strategies that can assist me in product and profile development planning and delivery. I went on a search, discovered that there are no 100% free platforms with all options available that offer this service for Instagram as yet, but there are plenty for Twitter.

    What I did find was the platform Later.com. This is a platform that allows you to upload and schedule your Instagram posts from your mobile or computer. What I like about this platform is that is offers a free sign up option while exploring if it works for you. You can post image and text content 30 times in the month for free. This allows for the flexibility to capture spontaneous moments, as well as scheduled content.


    Scheduling content for the week: desktop view

    The platform sets up your week in a calendar format. This allows you to visually plan your time, and for you to post at the times that are ideal for your audience. This is where the wisdom of Kylie Lewis and Belinder Langler (of Of Kin fame) comes into play. Their research has indicated that you should be regular and consistent. Their work is also a great reminder to link into the digital patterns of most people’s social media habits of checking the first thing in the morning and in the evening before they go to bed.  A great guide to when you can regularly post to build your profile.

    A record is maintained of the content you have shared and how many times (stored in the ‘used’ section of the platform).  And there is the opportunity to preload images for future content stored in the ‘used’ section of the platform. Once again, another benefit within the platform to support strategic management and smart use of time.


    Creating content ahead of time

    In planning your post you can add your image and caption. I think this is one of the best features of this platform to assist in content generation. The image and content can be added, then scheduled. This is then saved and ready to ‘pop up’ as a reminder to allow for posting.


    Mobile application reminder on phone screen. This is a ‘pop up’ that serves as a reminder to post (transfer) the content already created into Instagram. 

    I have been approaching my content management by loading the images and captions of a Sunday for the week ahead. I have identified the times I would like the post to appear. By populating the content on the desktop I am dedicating my time to plan and consider how I want to share. This then connects nicely to my app, with an alert coming up on my screen.


    Later talking to Instagram to transfer your preloaded content.

    Some thoughts in regards to the pros and cons of using a platform such as Later for Instagram as a summary includes:


    • You can populate and schedule your content and pre plan for the week or month ahead.
    • Can support you to think about your digital marketing strategy.
    • Reminders are sent to your phone (once you have download the app) for the time and date you set the content to be launched.
    • Can edit and proof read your populated content before you post. Perfect if you wish to add or change the content based on your thinking.
    • An organisation helper.
    • The app allows for sharing and posting on the go. Perfect for the creative juggling multiple tasks.
    • Time efficient.
    • Helps you forward think to align your posting to core values and missions as a creative or creative business.


    • The content is created, however, it does not post it. You still need to transfer the content across to Instagram, however this is easy from the mobile app as it does a direct copy and paste for you with a few directed clicks.
    • Must be connected to wifi.
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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Starting a Business, Tools of the Trade | Comments Off on Later.com for creatives