100 Ways to Be More Creative, No Matter How Much Time You Have


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We all wish we had more time to be creative, but even when you’re pressed for time it’s possible to make something great. Here are 100 ways to be more creative, broken down approximately by how much time they might take. (Your results may vary.)

I hope they will serve as a jumping off point for you to be more creative or give you an idea when you have time but don’t know what to do with it.

Ways to Be More Creative When You Have One Minute

Even if you feel like you have NO time to get creative, there are things you can do that will just take a minute or two.

  1. Doodle
  2. Write a haiku or other short poetry
  3. Make a rubbing of something that’s sitting on your desk or within arm’s reach
  4. Write or draw with your non-dominant hand
  5. Draw a contour drawing (that’s where you draw the whole picture without picking up your pencil) of something you can see where you are
  6. Trace you hand and doodle or write inside the shape.
  7. Braid a piece of yarn or threads
  8. Decorate an index card with stickers
  9. Write your name in as many different styles as you can think of
  10. Think of as many uses as you can for an item on your desk

How About Five Minutes?

If you have a little more time, you can get a little more creative, though it should be noted all the ideas above can be done for longer than one minute as well.

  1. Take some deep breaths (but don’t call it mediation if that bothers you)
  2. Flip through a magazine and pull out images and words to use in a collage
  3. Write a poem about something that happened today
  4. Draw repeating patterns
  5. Grab some random items (buttons, bottle caps, clothespins, etc.) and some paint and make prints of those items
  6. Fold paper into an origami form or a paper airplane
  7. Read a poem
  8. Go looking for a pattern you want to make next
  9. Explore your stash for supplies you want to use in your next project
  10. Check out an inspiring website (NOT Instagram or Pinterest, and set a timer)
  11. Draw a self-portrait
  12. Make a pom-pom out of yarn

Creative Ideas When You Have 10 Minutes

Now we’re looking at real time. Of course just a few minutes used the right way can give you a great creative boost, but when you have 10 minutes you can really make some progress on a project. A few ideas:

  1. Do a row of knitting or crochet or a bit of cross stitch or sew a seam or two on whatever project you’re working on
  2. Do a bit of hand sewing
  3. Scribble all over a page and fill in the holes with different colors and patterns
  4. Print out a brain shape and fill it with what’s on your mind
  5. Craft a bookmark
  6. Prep the background for a painting
  7. Do some mending
  8. Make a greeting card
  9. Write a thank you note
  10. Find a how to draw tutorial online and draw something fun
  11. Use the materials in your reach (or that you can grab in one minute) to make something

Be More Creative with 15 Minutes

When we get into this section from 10 to 30 minutes, pretty much everything can be altered to take more or less time or to do in sessions if you want or need to. Whatever you need to fill your time creatively!

  1. Sew a small project
  2. Do some finger knitting
  3. Turn on some music and paint or draw to it
  4. Make a vision board or collage
  5. Write a fake autobiography
  6. Paint on or with leaves or shells
  7. Get out the sidewalk chalk and draw (you can use it on paper, too, by the way)
  8. Paint with fingernail polish (doing marbling with fingernail polish is super fun)
  9. Sketch your childhood home or school
  10. Paint or draw on a map or a page from an old book
  11. Choose a word and craft it in some way (draw, embroider, collage, etc.)
  12. Do a coloring page
  13. Make a crochet chain necklace or scarf
  14. Paint the sky
  15. Do weaving with paper
  16. Make a blackout poem
  17. Finger paint

If You Have 30 Minutes

As we get into longer time periods of course there is a lot more you can do depending on what your favorite crafts are, but here are some ideas if you just don’t know what you want to do.

  1. Make soup or a batch of cookies (or anything else that’s food, really)
  2. Find a writing prompt online or in a book and do it
  3. Re-create a favorite work of art
  4. Buy yourself flowers and draw, paint or photograph them
  5. Take a nature walk and collect materials for a project
  6. Make a ransom note style project
  7. Use layers of fabric to make a collage style project
  8. Sew on paper
  9. Start an art journal or add a layout to one you already have
  10. Design a cross stitch or color knitting chart
  11. Make T-shirt yarn or fabric yarn
  12. Hand letter a word or a favorite quote
  13. Make a protest sign
  14. Make scrub, salve or something else for self care
  15. Make a simple project with beads

Ways to Be More Creative in about an Hour

If you have an hour uninterrupted to be creative in, you probably don’t need me to tell you what to do with it, but just in case you need some new ideas, I’ve got some more!

  1. Make something from upcycled materials
  2. Finish a project you’ve been putting off completing
  3. Start a new project you’ve been meaning to do
  4. Head to the thrift store with a strict budget and a plan to buy something you can use in a project
  5. Go to the farmer’s market, walk slow, buy what you want, take lots of pictures
  6. Try a new recipe
  7. Make soap or a candle
  8. Try shashiko or other forms of visible mending
  9. Make a small embroidery or cross stitch project
  10. Get some loop yarn and make a project
  11. Make something to use to store other crafty items
  12. Sew a pillow
  13. Decorate a wreath
  14. Make a craft themed for an upcoming holiday
  15. Dye some yarn or fabric
  16. Craft with a color you don’t usually like
  17. Paint an abstract

How to Be More Creative when You Have a Lot of Time

Any of these ways to be more creative work if you have an hour, or more, or even a little less. They are definitely on the more time consuming side of things, but well worth the time and effort.

  1. Go for a hike
  2. Take yourself to a museum or art gallery
  3. Go to the library or bookstore
  4. Research a favorite artist and make something inspired by them
  5. Try to make a whole project in a day
  6. Take a class or workshop in person or online
  7. Learn the basics of a new to you craft
  8. Teach someone else a craft you love
  9. Sew a softie
  10. Mass produce a project (like napkins, placemats or infinity scarves)
  11. Knit with giant needles
  12. Try arm knitting
  13. Start writing that book you’ve been thinking about
  14. Bake bread
  15. Buy a craft kit and make it
  16. Hand sew a large project
  17. Write the story of how you met your spouse or best friend
  18. Make something more complicated in a craft of your choice

Did I count right? These great ideas to help you be more creative should allow you to fill in the spaces when you have time but don’t know what to do. If you can remember you always have time to do a little something creative instead of mindlessly scrolling, I’ve done my job!

I’d love to hear which one of these prompts you want to try first.

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