Hopefully, by this point you understand all the different things that come together to help you become more creative. You understand what you have to do if you want to amazing ideas to come to you. You know what you have to do to stand apart from the crowd and do better in life and in business.
Exercises You Can Do to Become More Creative
Now, it’s time to think about how to come up with ideas in more specific terms. You can use these strategies in combination with everything you’ve learned to this point. Remember to take what you need and leave what you don’t. Not all of these idea-generation techniques will work for you–but many of them will. Try new things and you’ll be delighted by what happens.
Change Your Space
If you’ve ever read about how colors can affect mood, then you may be aware of this already. The colors you surround yourself with can affect your mood, creativity, and productivity. Researchers have found that being surrounded by the color blue can lead to more creativity. It relaxes your mind and helps you form new connections.
Maybe there’s a room in your home you can paint blue–such as your office or another corner where you can be alone and quiet. This can be a place where you think creatively. I should also remind you of the obvious point that the sky is blue. The sky, and being outdoors, can bring you the serene surroundings you need to become more creative.
Dream a Little
Have you ever noticed that your mind really gets pumping after you’ve just woken up from an amazing dream? Well, the same thing can happen during the day. Let yourself lie down and rest and let your mind wander. You don’t actually have to fall asleep–just daydream.
The more you allow yourself to daydream, the more your mind will get used to making new connections and exploring things outside of the current realm of possibility. This, in turn, will help you become more creative, whether you’re daydreaming at the moment or not.
Reclaim Your Childhood
I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already, but it really helps if you’re having trouble being creative and coming up with new ideas. Do things that help you reclaim the wonder of a child. Think like a child and you’ll be able to make different connections as you go outside your usual “box” of adult thinking.
Filling Yourself with Laughter
If you’re stuck for ideas, and are feeling down and blue, watch something funny or go to a comedy show. This serves a couple of different purposes. First, it relaxes you-- everyone feels happier when they’re listening to something funny.
Laughter can clear the cobwebs and help you enjoy life again. Comedians also have an incredible way of drawing connections in ways no one else can. Learn from them and study what they do and the conclusions they draw about life. This can help you become more creative.
Work in a Different Location
Do you work in the same place every day? If so, you are depriving yourself of sensory input that can really help you as you strive to become more creative. Consider working outside every once in a while. Go to a Starbucks or even work in the library. Work from home, if you don’t usually. Rent a hotel room and work there all day if you’re getting too distracted at home. Whatever you do, shake things up a little and you’ll be both more productive and more creative.
Travel Whenever You Can
When was the last time you took a true vacation? If you’re like many hard-working business people, you probably can’t even remember. I urge you to choose a weekend, or even a whole week, where you and your partner or family goes somewhere you’ve never been before. Leave the laptop and Smartphone at home, and just explore. You will return to your work with renewed vigor and the experience will make you more creative.
Surround Yourself with People
Being in isolation is not always good for creativity—you have to have it both ways. If you find yourself stuck for ideas, put yourself in the middle of a busy location. Go to a park in the city. Go to a crowded sports bar. Do whatever you need to do to be around people for a little while. This is an important exercise, even if you’re an introvert. Sometimes, even just observing large groups of people helps your mind think in new and creative ways.
Spend a Lot of Time Observing
We’ve talked about the importance of mindfulness–being in the present moment. Set aside time where you can walk through a totally unfamiliar location. Observe the sights, smells, sounds, and people all around you. Observe, and make internal comments about what you observe. This can help reset your brain and give you fodder for increased creativity.
Get to Know New People
I’m huge fan of masterminds and bouncing ideas around with other people. But, there comes a point where you can’t always serve the same people creatively. That’s when you need to spend time getting to know other people. Put yourself out there to get to know people of different backgrounds, nationalities, religions, political affiliations, locations, and more. I know this is difficult for you to think about if you’re a natural introvert, but it’s incredibly important.
There are few better ways to expand your mind and stimulate new, more creative thoughts, than reading more books. If you aren’t a reader, it’s time you become one. You don’t have to read anything boring–this isn’t school. Read something that excites you–even if it’s shallow fiction.
You can read biographies, autobiographies, romance novels, crime novels, true crime novels, or whatever you want. Get yourself a Kindle and download a new book every week–you’ll have plenty of scope for the imagination once you do.
StumbleUpon.com is a great invention. It lets you click a button and then takes you to a random webpage somewhere on the web. There is no quicker way to get outside of your usual activities on the web than having a randomizer choose where you go. Not every page will be useful to you, but you will find some incredible things you wouldn’t have explored otherwise. This can be a lot of fun–a way to break your usual pattern.
Journal Your Thoughts
As someone taking steps to be more creative, you’ll have a lot of new thoughts swirling around in your mind. You’re filling your mind with so much information, so many sensory experiences, and so many chances for new growth. This can feel a little overwhelming-- you really are stepping out of your comfort zone. You can help yourself work through this change by journaling your thoughts.
Maybe you’re an exercise fanatic or maybe you don’t find the time to exercise. Either way, it’s time to think about exercise in a new way. Not only does exercise help you become more fit, it also helps your mind become more fit.
Exercise gets blood to your brain pumping, which helps clear your thoughts and gives you energy. You can’t think many creative thoughts when you’re dead tired and drained. Exercise and get everything flowing again. Do this for at least 30 minutes per day.
Yoga and Meditation
You may never have thought you would take up yoga, but it can be very helpful. This ancient tradition has been helping people connect with themselves and the world for centuries. Yoga helps stretch your body and your mind.
Not into the idea of doing yoga? Meditation can go along with yoga or it can be done on its own. To meditate, you don’t need to sit with your legs crossed and fingers in the air. You can meditate anywhere you are, at any time. All you need is quiet and calm to surround you. Try to clear your mind of all thought–if thoughts try to enter into your mind, just calmly dismiss them.
Sometimes, there’s no better way to kick your mind into high gear than to set little deadlines for yourself. For instance, you can give yourself 10 minutes to brainstorm a list of ideas, solutions, or whatever you need to brainstorm. When time is up, it’s up. Immediately choose your top 3 favorite ideas. From there, give yourself 30 seconds to make your final choice, circling your very favorite idea. This deadline cuts the fluff and helps you get to the heart of what matters.
Keep a Notepad of Your Ideas
You’re feeding your mind many great ways to become more creative. But, there isn’t a set time during which creativity comes to you. You’re setting yourself up to get creative ideas when you least expect it–in the shower, at the pub, when you first lie down to go to bed, during dinner…wherever, whenever.
Keep a notepad with you so you can write your ideas down before they escape you. You can even just type them out on your Smartphone if you tend to have that by your side. Do whatever you need to do to capture those ideas forever.
If you just try to keep these ideas in your mind, they’ll slip away from you forever. Or if you do manage to store them in your mind, there won’t be room for more ideas to come. Keeping a notepad of ideas will give you space for new ideas and allow you to nurture the best of them. You’ll get into the habit of constantly generating ideas, which will do wonderful things for your creativity.
Take Time Away from Work
If you’re stressed and pressed for ideas, step away from your work for a while. This may not seem like it’s what you should do, especially if you’re on a tight deadline. But, you need to take at least a small break and do something totally different.
Do something-- even if it’s something as simple as standing up and jogging in place for a while. Go for a walk on the beach or go swimming in a swimming pool. Take a bubble bath–do whatever you need to do to get away from your work so you can return to it refreshed. Even 10 minutes helps, as long as it helps you feel rejuvenated.
Tomorrow's post will have lots more ways to Find Amazing, Creative Ideas...
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