Work, rest and play: Why creative thinking is important in all areas of life



These are three key areas of life that take up the majority of our time. Living in a hectic, always on world, we often do not make time for things that we should. People spend a lot of time and energy on work, but how much do you spend on rest and play?

Creativity can make a huge difference in the workplace, from how you work, to ideas that can transform your business. But how often do we turn our attention and creativity on rest and play? I would say not enough.

So why is creative thinking important in all areas of life? To me the key answer to this is balance. People work longer and harder, with mobile devices and email giving us an always on expectation. This cuts in on down time and rest. To get the most out of your life, you need to balance these. To do that, you need to get creative, because there are only 24 hours in the day.

So how should you go about this? I think it should be treated in a similar style to how you approach work. Make yourself a brief, set objectives, define what success looks like, then go out and get it.

So where to begin? Starting is often the hardest point, you need a challenge or problem to solve. Set out what it is, define the parameters and look at what resources you have to solve it. An identifiable and solveable problem is best. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you are highly unlikely to achieve it.

Look at it from the outside, what would you advise someone else to do in this position. How do people in other countries deal with this and if that was your job, how would you approach it? Do you know anyone who has the same problem/ objectives, what do they do and could you use some of this? Some of the best ideas are mash ups of different ideas and approaches applied to a new area.

Think about a budget, would a bit of money help? Small budgets can go a long way. I love seeing what people can do. There is a trend of Ikea hacking, taking cheap Ikea starting points and turning them into amazing projects.

When implementing ideas, a certain amount of naivety helps. It is amazing what you can achieve when you don’t realise that the answer is probably no. So don’t discount ideas because you are worried they might not happen, get lots of ideas going and see if bits of one work well with another. Then go out there and see if you can make them happen.

Creativity is a mind-set rather than a skill. You need to give yourself a chance to come up with ideas, so carve out a bit of time and peace and quiet. But don’t count out the busy times, if you are always thinking about how to come up with creative solutions and look at the world in an enquiring way, you will have a much greater chance of success. The key thing is to keep at it and when you have an idea write it down. The notes function on phones is great and I wrote the basis of my book on mine in between things, on my commute and whenever an idea popped into my mind.

Top tips:

Define the opportunity

Write a mini brief for yourself and work out what success looks like. Give yourself a target to hit.

Borrow ideas from other places

Few great ideas are completely original. Look at what other people, industries and countries are doing and learn from them.

Be naïve

Don’t presume that because no one else in your office works from home on Wednesdays that you cant. Ask and be surprised by how much you get.

Enjoy it

Creativity is meant to be fun. Enjoy looking at how you can make things better and you will have a much more positive outcome.

Tom Tuke-Hastings is the author of new book, It’s All About The Idea. The book contains more examples and 52 creative steps to make you and your team more creative in the next year, and is available from Amazon priced £9.99