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Time to Get Creative

Are you bored with your job, or getting nowhere with your business, or just looking for fresh new ways to do things? Maybe it's time to get more creative. That's what this page is about. Below you'll find some ideas for getting more creative in various parts of your life.

First, though, let's clarify what we mean. The purpose of this article is not to suggest ways to do things differently just for the sake of being unique or crazy. It is interesting to try new ways of living, and it is fun to dream up crazy ideas, but by creative we mean that you will actually create. In other words, the goal here is to apply your creativity in ways that actually add value to your life. Let's get started...

Work

Why wait for your job to become more interesting on its own. Start looking for ways to make changes happen. Specific things you might try:

- Invent a new position so you can ask for a promotion.

- Find three new ways to generate more sales for your employer.

- Start a side business selling something to other employees.

- Reinvent your workspace, making it more cheerful and usable.

Home

Every home could be better in some way, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to look for a better house. Start thinking in terms of what you would love in a home and how you can have it right where you are. Here are some ideas on how to get creative with this.

- Make a screen tent into a summer office in the back yard.

- Build a mini-movie theater in your basement.

- Buy a shed and make it into an art studio.

- Convert your garage into a bar with a dance floor.

Pets

What can you do to make life better for your dogs or cats? Here are a few creative ideas to get you started.

- Make an obstacle course in the back yard for your dog.

- Make a maze of shelves that allows your cat to climb step-by-step to the ceiling of the spare bedroom or basement.

- Make a cat cage that extends out from a window or unused back door, allowing your cat a little bit of safe space outdoors.

Investing

You can put your money in a 401k and forget about it, which might make sense for your primary retirement funds. But if you have more to invest, you can get creative, as in the examples here.

- Buy your kids everything they need to start a small business (drink stand, dog washing service, etc.), and take a share of the profits they make.

- Invest in your favorite political candidates using the Iowa Electronic Markets (http://tippie.uiowa.edu/iem/). You can buy real futures contracts that pay off if your candidate wins the election.

- Invest in a fixer-upper boat. If you have a friend who likes to work on boats, have him find one with profit potential, and buy it for him to fix. Then sell it and split the profits.

Business

- Challenge your assumptions about your business, to see if there are better ways to do things. You might challenge the idea that you need more customers, for example, and instead find a way to make each customer worth twice as much.

- Team up with another business that isn't a direct competitor. If you sell carpet, for example, join forces with a carpet cleaning company to cross promote each other.

- Get in the news to generate business. Do something outrageous or at least newsworthy, to get publicity.

Life

In general, to get more creative in all areas of life, develop a couple key strategies. The first is to identify and challenge assumptions. You might assume that you need to stay in the country you are born in, for example; challenging this idea might lead you to an adventure starting a business overseas. You might assume that you need to be indispensable at work, and then when challenging this you discover that you have never been promoted because there is nobody to fill your position. Challenge any assumptions you can find lurking in your conscious or subconscious mind.

Another key strategy is to simply open your mind and play with new ideas. Asking "what if" questions is a good habit to develop in this regard. For example, you might look at your vacation plans and ask, "What if a vacation came to me instead of me traveling somewhere?" That might trigger the idea to stay in town and pay for a good friend (one who is fun) to come visit for a week. Don't worry about how silly the questions are. The idea is simple to get your mind thinking in new directions.


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