In the digital age, productivity seems to be the Holy Grail: The Web is full of tools and widgets that promise to help you get more done. But what about the quality of the work you’re doing? In a world of intense competition and mass market mentality, it’s the creative idea that sets you apart as an innovator.
So where’s the app for that?
“Luckily there are some tools that can improve our chances of working creatively. According to research, these six tools can help inspire your next big idea,” writes Belle Beth Cooper in Fast Company.
Her article outlines six fantastic and low-tech ways to get those creative juices flowing, like investing in a comfy chair for brain-boosting naps, or taking a run to improve clarity. First on her list? She advises going back to paper and pen for writing.
“When compared to paper, reading or writing on a screen requires more effort and makes us tired faster. Even expert writers have been shown to write 50% slower when using a computer, compared to paper,” Cooper writes.
And there’s another benefit in writing on paper, according to Gwendolyn Bounds in the Wall Street Journal.
“Recent research illustrates how writing by hand engages the brain in learning,” Bounds writes, citing specific studies that show neural activity is higher when using hand printing over other types of practice.
“It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional things we see all the time,” says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University who led the study.
We aren’t surprised by this news; we know that reading comprehension is higher on paper and the brain engages more deeply in print, so it makes sense that writing on paper is a more cerebral experience.
Cooper has some other great creativity-boosting ideas, including: having a messy desk (apparently we are creative geniuses over here); carrying a notebook to catalog new ideas as they come to you; and a good pair of headphones to create ambient noise to enhance your concentration.
Stuck in a creative rut? Try any of these ideas and see what comes up!