Most creative people are right brained and frankly, sometimes we work the right half of our brains way too hard. Being “right-brained” means we like to think outside the box, frequently disregard logic, and typically hate subjects like math and spelling. But researchers have noted that the brain works more efficiently if we not only work the side that is dominant for us, but spend some time working the less dominant parts. Therefore, the following are some ideas to help creative people, like you and me, exercise the left side of our brains without entirely wasting time.
Code a web site (1)
Do some writing (2)
One of the best things you can do to exercise your left brain is to practice your writing, spelling, and word composition. This not only helps you exercise your left brain, but also makes you a more effective communicator. Below are some ideas that you can try to help get the writing habit started. (And believe me, once you start, you only get more and more efficient at it.)
- Keep a daily journal of your activities. (3) Whether online or in a notebook, write what’s been on your mind that day.
Write for a blog. (4) You can either start your own blog or write for someone else’s blog. Either way, knowing that other people will be reading what you write is good motivation to sharpen your spelling and grammar skills. (PS. If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to agree.)
- Write for a magazine or newspaper. (5) Printed editorials are frequently looking for guest authors and outside opinions. Contact a local newspaper or magazine and ask if you can submit work for them to review. If you are still in school, do the same with your school newspaper.
- Leave meaningful comments on blogs and other sites. (6) While this isn’t heavy-duty writing, a little writing each day by posting comments on other web sites can be a great way to increase your communication-via-writing skills.
- Use twitter. (7) Why do I suggest twitter above any other social media service? Because twitter limits you to 140 characters. This means you have to force yourself to be concise and use explicative words to get your message across. (PS. you can follow me on twitter here.)
- What else would you add to the list of writing opportunities?
Crunch some numbers (8)
Besides writing and spelling, math and numbers are a great way to exercise the left side of our brain. For some this might come easier than for others, but keep at it and you’ll find yourself getting better. So what math can a creative do?
- Consider a web designer. He can build his sites according to a grid and calculate the correct measurements to make it looks just right. (9)
- How about an advertiser? He can look into the media strategy side of things. Learn about media buying and budgets. (10)
- Freelance designers: You crunch numbers at least once a month when you bill your clients and pay your bills. (11)
There are plenty of opportunities to do math. You simply have to consider your options. While it may not be as fun as designing a poster or web site, remember: it will help you be more well-rounded.
Master a new skill (12)
Another tip is to master a new skill (preferably one that includes deductive reasoning). What skills require you to use deductive or logical reasoning? How about learning a new language,(13) mastering a difficult tutorial online,(14) or finding something entirely new to add to your skill set.
Do a word or number puzzle (15)
I know I’m about ten years behind the times but, after years of not understanding the point behind them, I recently got addicted to Sudoku puzzles.(16) If you’ve never tried one, give it a shot. These little puzzles allow me to escape the creative overload I deal with on an almost daily basis and find refuge in logical, rational, deductive thinking. If you enjoy crossword puzzles, give them a shot. Whatever you prefer, carry around small sheet of paper with some puzzles on it or a book in your bag. When you feel a creative brain-freeze coming on, whip out the book and give your right brain a break.
I think you’ll find you’re more creative after a 15-minute puzzle break. It’s worked for me.
Read a book (or read at all) (17)
As creatives we tend to get wrapped up in the extensive design showcases, inspiration galleries, and complicated design tutorials. While these are all fine and useful–even necessary to a creative mind–it should not constitute the bulk of our reading or study. Make sure to read the longer articles (like this one), pick up a book every once and while, or read a magazine or newspaper.
We are a generation of skimming content and it is weakening our left brains. You can even read something on your preferred topic such as web design, graphic design, advertising or copy writing. The key is that you read instead of skim.
That’s about it
These are just a few ideas I have been able to come up with in order to help my brain be more well-balanced. I have found that as I have tried a few of these things out, the creative juices just flow more easily. What other tips can you offer for all of us to enjoy?