If you Google ways to boost your creativity, some 9 million pages will be available to you. Ways to think more creatively, ways to get through that slump, ways to spark that great idea. I’ll admit, I’ve sought out these tips, on more than one occasion and if we’re being honest, it’s usually just another way for me to procrastinate doing the actual work. Sometimes, just getting started is the best and smartest way to boost your creativity. However, I know as well as anyone, that taking that first step is easier said than done with some projects and we all could use that extra, sparkly push forward before we can dive in.
Over the years, I’ve learned a couple tips that work for me when I need a little boost. Of course, everyone’s creativity is different because everyone’s lifestyle is different and everyone’s work is different. It’s important to try out different methods to find what works best for you personally. Below is a list of ideas that may (or may not) inspire and motivate you.
Watch a TED Talk
- Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from.
- Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius.
- Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide?
- David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence.
Change your tactic
- Take the path of most resistance. Put your brain in overdrive by restricting and limiting yourself to create within specific guidelines.
- Think about the problem, not the solution.
- Batch out your tasks. Research has shown that our creative potential decreases when we have to hold both the gathering of ideas and execution of the ideas in the same space. Segment out your process and focus on only the task at hand.
- Sketch out all the “wrong” ideas, instead of all the “right” ideas.
- Work when you are tired. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but research has shown that those who are night owls, actually are more creative in the morning and those who are self–proclaimed morning people (these people actually exist) may be more creative at night.
- Stop looking for inspiration from others. Close Google. Close Pinterest. Close Dribble. Close Medium.
- Procrastinate. You don’t have to be first if you can be better.
Meditation has been shown to promote a state of mind in which we can generate new ideas more easily. It is not for everyone but if you want to try it out, you can use one of these online guided meditation options.
In a 2012 study, it was shown that after only 4 days of immersion in nature, cognitive functions related to creativity and critical thinking increased by 50%. 50%! In fact, the theory is that the more time we spend with technology, and away from nature, the more damage we are doing to our brain. So, put down your phone, step away from your laptop, turn off Netflix and take a 30–minute walk around your neighborhood and embrace the effects!
Progress, not perfection
The Salvador Dali quote goes: “Do not be afraid of perfection – you will never attain it.” For me, this is one of the most important (and hardest) pieces of advice to follow and it goes back to what I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Just doing the work is sometimes the best way to work through your creative slump. It doesn’t have to perfect. Just get started. Make progress. Then take the next step. One foot in front of the other.