Thinking as an Art Form – Five Ways to Improve the Quality of Strategic and Creative Thinking

I recently had the opportunity to visit with a prolific and talented artist where I noticed all but one series of her canvasses were on the floor tucked away in corner. During our discussion, the painter said she had learned from her art teacher, to put away previous work that could clutter her creative process and block her growth as an artist.

Having a blank canvas and being free of distraction is critical is strategic and creative thinking – the ability to let go of accepted paradigms and beliefs to make way for creativity and innovation. This type of focused reflection is a principle of the leadership strategy sessions and personal growth retreats that we host at Retreats Costa Rica, as participants leave behind the crisis of the day to day to focus on “the big picture” whether that picture is the direction of their business or their personal lives.

Strategic and Creative Thinkers are Portrait Painters

Look at Bill Gates who credits his success at Microsoft to his ability to look beyond the daily “noise” and focus on long-term corporate vision.

Here are five quick ways to improve the quality of your thinking and create your next masterpiece:

  1. Clutter creates confusionGet organized and work with a fresh canvas. Yup, on average we spend about 45 minutes a day looking for things amidst the mess. Where are my keys? Keep only the current project you are working on in front of you.
  2. Dedicate one hour of focus time to your most important taskMulti-tasking is highly over-rated and causes a loss of up to 40% efficiency. Give yourself one hour of focused seclusion to work on your most import task. Note: some of my clients are scheduling in addition to an employee lunch hour, one hour of focus time in a designated quiet rooms, free of e.mail and phone interruptions. The result: both productivity, creativity and morale have zoomed!
  3. Stir up your visual senses and creative talents with exposure to the artsGo to a gallery, pick up an art book or spend time with nature.
  4. Learn how to Mind-Map!This is a best practice that allows you to visualize and map your projects, strategies and to do’s. It’s also a life saving memory device that will help you remember more and organize your thinking.
  5. Finally, on the hour—stop thinking

    Did you now that when you’ve been working on something for more than an hour, you start losing concentration and focus. So, stop, get up and walk around and then go back to your work of art.