Whether you're solving a problem, writing a blog post, crafting a review or creating your next product, creativity is one of your best tools for getting the job done with finesse and style. With that in mind, here are 17 methods anyone can use to become more creative:
1. Free write – this is where you just start writing anything and continue to write as the words and ideas flow. At first it may be silly nonsense, but you'll be surprised how fast your words and ideas can coalesce into something truly inspired.
2. Carry a notebook – by jotting down ideas as soon as they appear, two things happen. First, you don't forget your ideas because you've got a written record. Second, the act of writing them down tells your subconscious that you want ideas, which will encourage it to give you even more.
3. Make lists – the very act of writing things down frees up your mind to be more creative.
4. Take breaks from your work – get up, walk around, play 5 minutes of hopscotch – whatever. Just take a breather.
5. Get up and go – leave your computer at home, take your notebook and get away from the office. Go anywhere – a park, the mall, a coffee shop, a museum – just get out, get away and soak up some different surroundings.
6. Get near water, especially if it's moving – studies show that being near moving water floods you with negative ions, which makes you feel good and can boost your creativity. Remember how you get some of your best ideas in the shower? That's why.
7. Talk nice to yourself – positive self talk on how creative you are will produce more ideas. Beating yourself up for being a dummy won't.
8. Do drugs – caffeine, that is. If you don't normally drink caffeine, one cup of coffee or tea can have remarkable effects on your thinking. If you do use caffeine daily, the effect won't be nearly as pronounced.
9. Clean off your desk – nothing stifles creativity like a messy, cluttered desk.
10. Read something different – an article on a topic you know nothing about, a page out of the dictionary, a chapter out of a random book, etc. You never know what it will trigger for you.
11. Practice writing or bouncing a ball with your non-dominant hand – this can help activate the connection between the two sides of your brain.
12. Be open to new ideas – all too often we dismiss an idea before giving it a real chance. Even if you think it's a bad idea, try playing devil's advocate and find all the reasons why it's a good idea – you might be surprised.
13. Collaborate and mastermind – two heads are better than one, and 5 are better than 2. Form a mastermind group, present a problem, and then let the ideas flow. The only rule: No one shoots down an idea.
14. Sleep on it – give your subconscious your problem or need: “I need 3 new blog post ideas by tomorrow morning.” Then let it go and see what your subconscious finds for you.
15. Make friends with mistakes – when you goof up or make the wrong decision, realize it's not the end of the world, it's simply something that didn't work. This allows your creativity to continue to flow.
16. Purposely break rules – not the big ones like “do not steal,” but the little ones like “this is what a blog post / new product / video should look like.”
17. Be you – don't worry about what others might think because no great idea is without naysayers anyway. In fact, if everyone thinks your idea is great, then it's probably not.
One last tip: Ask “Why?” and “Why not?” a lot. Often times we just accept things as they are, when there could be a whopper of an idea just staring us in the face the whole time.