There’s an old saying: If you can’t find something, tidy up.
I recently discovered that this wisdom applies to creativity as much as it does to finding lost keys. There’s something about clearing out, sorting, and organizing that nudges my creativity awake.
I’m not sure whether it’s the calm repetitive nature of organizing, making space to do creative work, or just seeing things (e.g. art supplies) that I haven’t seen in a while that does it, but it works.
Neurobiology has a thing or two to say about this: creativity itself results from the organization of complex ideas, but the brain needs down-time to make those connections. You can’t force creativity with logic.
Brain scans show that creative neural connections actually happen when the mind is in a relaxed state. It makes sense, then, that calmly playing around in one’s environment could help jump-start creative thinking.
So if you’re feeling a little fuzzy-headed or stuck, try organizing your desk or decluttering a drawer. You might just find your muse in there alongside that long-lost pair of paisley socks.