Some people need chaos to create. Not me. For me, minimalism really enhances my creativity. What is minimalism? According to The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, it’s about stripping away unnecessary things—the possessions, ideas, relationships, and activities that don’t bring value to your life. Once those are stripped away, you can focus on what’s important (such as great creative).
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all your creative possibilities or feel like there’s not a clear purpose to your creative or campaign strategy, I invite you to join me on a minimalist journey.
Here’s how minimalism can help boost your creativity:
It brings focus. After getting rid of extra material things, I now only own objects that I love or that serve a real purpose. As I get a cup of tea before settling down to work, I’m not distracted by a choice between 20 different cups. As minimalist blogger Jessica Williams says, “Too much choice makes us anxious because we find it overwhelming. Psychologists call this the paradox of choice.” And without clutter in my workspace, my mind is free to calmly focus on what needs to get done.
It allows the mind to wander—so it can wonder. In today’s world we have so many distractions, whether it’s our devices or the expectation to keep a tidy home or whatever else floats across our consciousness. By creating a clear physical space, I’ve given myself a clear mental space—a space where I can sit with a challenging project and let my mind go free, brainstorming and mapping things out in my imagination.
It shows that less is often more. The mindset I instilled when considering what items I really wanted or needed didn’t disappear after I got rid of those unnecessary things. Instead, it’s filtered through to my work. When I review creative and think about strategy, I look for what can be stripped so the essence isn’t bogged down by noise. I push to present only three spectacular ideas in a pitch deck rather than a mix of the spectacular and expected. I make sure our agency’s Instagram images truly reflect what we want to convey as a brand. As we found when we created our “Art of Deception” minimalist animated illustrations for the film Murder on the Orient Express, fewer colors and simplified forms can actually make images more impactful.
Minimalism can allow you to focus on what’s important, both in creative work and life. It’s really improved every aspect of my life and work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your space or mind, give it a try. Maybe you start small, giving away a few things that you haven’t worn in years. Or maybe you create a tiny habit that makes you consider whether you really need a new item. (For example, whenever you put something in your online shopping cart, you close the tab—and only if you really need it do you go back and make the purchase.)
With minimal effort, I think you’ll see big results. Let me know how it goes.