Fun Filled Games for Inserting Creativity into the Time Stressed Life

Do you feel pressured by all the things that you need to do?

When you check your e-mail and see that message 11 of 63 is downloading, do you bang your hands on your desk and shout, “Stop, stop, stop – I can’t handle this!”?

Do you feel like you will scream if your boss tells you, “Here are some things to read – you might want to incorporate them into your work!”?

Well, here is another thing to read – and incorporate into your life.

Scream all you want. But don’t scream at me. Because these are three easy and fun filled games that even the most time-stressed of us can play. And in the playing, learn how to be creative.

There are two simple rules to understand when playing these games. The key to unleashing your creative power through these games is also the key to unleashing your creative power at work. First, tell yourself that you are creative. Don’t indulge in any negative self-talk. Second, be silly. And don’t worry about getting it right or making mistakes. Just have fun!

Now, get ready to have some fun brushing those cobwebs out of the creative corners of your brain.

Play the 3 Cs: Clothes, Colour and Counting Game

As you are getting dressed, look at what you are putting on. What colour is it? As quickly as possible, list as many alternative different names as possible for that colour. Keep on thinking up new names until you’ve finished dressing. (It may help to pretend that you work for a paint company and it is your job to come up with new names for certain colours.)

For instance, as you search through your wardrobe for an appropriate suit to wear for a presentation, your glance stops on your brown wool suit. You decide that particular suit portrays a professional yet imaginative image and would be perfect for your presentation. As you put it on, you think of these names for that particular warm brown colour: rust, young oak, toast, burnt sienna, burnt earth, squirrel, evening orange, coffee au lait, sun-kissed mahogany, and rolling-in-the-mud Old Yeller.

Why do you want to do this? Because it trains your brain to not just stop with the first possible right answer. That’s the problem most people face – they stop when they hit the first right answer. And the first right answer is often not the best answer. When it comes to creativity, the ideas that come easily are the ones that have been tried by every Tom, Dick and Harry. When you want creativity, you want the ideas that aren’t common, the ideas that will make a difference because they are different. And that’s why you train yourself – and your brain – to come up with more than just the first right answer.

Play Connect-the-Cars Traffic Jam Car Game

Traffic jams – they are the bane of our existence. We sit stalled, drumming our fingers on the steering wheel, frustrated because we’re wasting our time and doing nothing. Hey, that’s  a great opportunity for playing a creativity game.

As you are caught in that traffic jam, look at the car in front of you. Choose something that catches your eye, such as a bumper sticker or the colour of the car. Talking out loud, list off ten thoughts that come to mind as a result of that part of the car (keep count on your fingers). Then think about a problem you have at work or home. As quickly as possible, list off as many ways as possible that what you’ve noticed about the car part is similar to your problem. Then think about whether or not any of these links might help you solve your problem. If they don’t help, pick another part and play the game again.

For example, the work problem might be that the last advertising you designed for the company didn’t seem to get the job done. The car part that stands out could be a rust patch that looks like Homer Simpson’s head. The ten thoughts might be:

  • falling apart,
  • Homer Simpson’s head,
  • nothing in it (Homer’s head),
  • death and decay,
  • crumpling metal,
  • fragile,
  • eyesore,
  • dirty,
  • nice colour (when the sunlight catches it),
  • the same colour as a Monarch Butterfly’s wing.

Some links to your problem:

  • I am worried that this will be an eyesore on my record with the company.
  • I am concerned that I will be stained by this failure.
  • The ad campaign had nothing in it – just like Homer’s head.
  • The ad campaign didn’t have colour.
  • The ad campaign didn’t attract the eye the way a butterfly’s wing does.
  • The ad campaign didn’t give people that sense of awe that a butterfly gives people.

Some ideas coming from the thoughts above: A butterfly is small – that smallness creates a sense of awe. Instead of being an elephant, be a butterfly – or a hummingbird. Use colours and shapes that remind people of a swallowtail or monarch butterfly. Create ads that give people that awe and warm and fuzzy feeling that a butterfly gives them. Make people want to reach out and “catch” your ad. Make an origami brochure in the shape of a butterfly. Make a connection to reaching out and catching a butterfly with reaching out and catching your product.

What’s the benefit to you? Many of the most innovative solutions come from connecting random thoughts. Thoughts of burr bushes and zippers connected to create Velcro. You want this sort of creativity. And by practicing random connections in traffic jams, you’ll have an easier time using this powerful technique at work when the pressure for an innovative solution is on.

Play the Elevator Awareness Game

“Ho, hum, here I am stuck in this slow elevator again. Yuck, what’s that smell? Someone sure splashed on too much scent this morning!”

As you stand there swallowed by the crowd, instead of thinking about how long it is taking to get to your floor, develop your creativity! Look at the person next to you and as quickly as possible, think of all the different occupations that look like they might match the person.

For instance, the lady standing next to you is tall, of a healthy weight, has straight iron-gray hair with a lighter streak over one ear, and has a rather stern face. She’s wearing a white shirt buttoned up to her neck and a navy blue A-line skirt. She has no jewellery on except for a plain gold wedding ring. You quickly think of all the things she could be – pastor’s wife, missionary, school teacher, sales clerk in a bookstore, cookbook author, legal secretary, accountant, engineer, dog trainer, flying instructor, coroner, expert witness, undercover cop, opera singer, mad scientist….

What you’re doing here is training yourself to pay attention to things around you. What would have happened if Alexander Flemming hadn’t noticed that the bacteria didn’t grow in that one petri dish that had been contaminated by a mold fungus?

So there you have it – three fun filled games for inserting creativity into a time stressed life. They’re silly and they’re fun. But they’ll train your brain so that when you need catch some creativity, your hand will be outstretched and ready instead of hiding behind your back or in a pocket.



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