There’s always going to be a time where you work on a project that demands some creative thinking, and nothing happens. The magic seems temporarily gone and your brain seems unable to get you closer to a Great Idea, that one thought that will spark your creativity and be your muse.
It’s time like this I often remind myself of the following list. These are six simple techniques that will allow you to unleash your creative potential, and once more set inspiration free inside your mind.
A comfortable place to work
Research shows time and time again our workplace is of great influence of our creative output. An uncomfortable chair, not enough desk space, not enough (sun)light, people calling all the time, these things really disrupt our ability to think and act creatively. Consider cleaning your desk or moving someplace else (outside/kitchen) to think, or if the problem is more structural, designate a space where you can think, sit, write and read comfortably and in peace.
Visualize your goal
Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck on the problem, and it helps to just remind our self why we want this fixed. Why am I doing what I do, what is the big picture? It’s all to easy to lose motivation and therefore our ability to be creative halfway through a project, and the trick is to get through this visualizing your objective again. Think of the finished product that got you motivated at the start of the project when it was still fresh.
Collaborate with someone
Creativity thrives as a social activity. The best results are created by being part of a team where you have a chance to get instant feedback. The magic of having someone to bounce ideas off is not just that two minds work better as one. Someone less involved in the creative process as you are can more easily provide rational and objective feedback, and provide motivation by pointing out the things that he or she agrees with you.
Variety of Scenery
Sometimes I get so caught up with a creative problem it shuts down the creative process. It’s just as important to relax the mind as it is to strain the mind. Music, a game, a walk in the park or a shower often leads to sudden bursts of inspiration because the mind has a chance to relax, process information and let all the previous inspiration settle down inside your head (and pass the checkpoints in our prepared mind).
Write your thoughts down
Writing is a great exercise in analytical thinking. By writing our thoughts down we force ourself to give the idea some time and become tangible enough to create a coherent phrase out of it. Not only does this help by saving all ideas instead of discarding them instantly because we think they are just bad or ‘half’ ideas, we also have a chance to tell our self why we think it is a bad idea. This will point us in the right direction of the solution, instead of relying on the patterns in our mind (gut feeling/instinct) to make that decision for us without the opportunity to learn from it.
Night Owl or Early Bird?
No one can always be focused, always ‘on top of their game’. Some get inspired by sleep and feel a productivity boost when they just get started with work in the morning. I’m more of a night owl, I can work ‘till 4:00 AM and usually feel productivity rising after 22:00. Knowing when you are at your best might help you plan better and make optimal use of your brains biorhythm.