Do you know that feeling when you’re expected to come up with a great idea and you have a creative downfall? You just can’t think of anything and really struggle with great ideas? This happens to a lot of people because we’re just not naturally creative.
I guess we all had those frustrating moments when you try to come up with ideas and you can’t think of anything. Then we usually turn around to others to help us but that’s actually the wrong thing to do.
A lot of psychologists argue that creativity isn’t something people are born with, it’s a skill like any other that can be learned. It’s a skill that you can train like a muscle and practice will help you to get better.
I had a lot of moments where I tried really hard to be creative and failed.
11 tips to train your creativity
1. Start your morning with creativity
According to a study from Harvard Business School, writing down some thoughts in the morning can improve your productivity for the day. Spend a couple minutes each morning to write down a few things that you’d like to work on. This list will help you focusing on the right things and you can be as creative with the writing as you want. These words are only for yourself and nobody else needs to understand them. You don’t know where to start? Here are a few examples:
• Recently, I’m struggling with ...
• If I had more time in the day, I’d use it to ...
• Today, I’ll relieve stress by ...
• I feel out of my comfort zone when ...
• My work is motivated by ...
• This week, I’m thankful for ...
• Today, I should avoid ...
• I feel fulfilled at work when ...
• From my team, I’m proud of ...
• I work best when ...
2. Take a course
There are a lot of free and paid courses online that you can take. A creative course can be anything that gives you more ideas. You can learn how to take photos and analyse them or you could start a cooking class where you have to design your dishes. There are also a lot of free online courses that you can start immediately.
3. Start being creative while being active
Another study has shown that people are more creative when they exercise. Exercising on a regular basis can train your creative thinking because your brain is much more focused on the actual movement than the language thinking. This trains your cognitive thinking and creativity.
Depending on what you like to do as an exercise you can start using it as a creative boost if you need it 30 mins a day can already make a difference. It’s not only good for your mind but also your body.
4. Travel around. Even if it’s just a nice café around the corner.
I oftentimes like to move around the office or at home when I am starting a new task. Our brain is stimulated by the surrounding sounds, tastes and smells. Moving around the office or house can therefore impact our focus and creativity. By moving around you keep the brain active and sharp.
5. Play like a child.
A lot of us probably remember how creative we used to be as a child. We were able to transform anything into something and create inner worlds for ourselves.
Kids don’t know any limit with creativity. They don’t think twice, they just do it. Try to take this approach when you’re asked to come up with a new idea or you want to achieve something big at work. You quickly realize that all the fear and uncertainty is just something your brain uses to derail you from your original course. You have to see these things as a new adventure and enjoy the ride.
6. Take more breaks.
I usually get the best ideas when I am not focused on anything particular. It could be while I am driving or taking a shower. There is actually a reason for why this happens during these activities.
Small breaks allow your mind to continue to work on ideas without getting distracted. It has proven to be really successful to give your mind some time to “digest” your thoughts and bring them into order.
Short naps can also activate creativity and some people find that they have the best ideas after falling asleep. Sometimes we should focus in working less and thinking more. To ensure you have enough time for thinking you should incorporate breaks into your calendar. Back to back meetings kill not only creativity but also productivity.
7. Build your own creative network
When you surround yourself with creative people you can share more different viewpoints and that’s great for your career. A fresh perspective on a project can give you new ideas. Your new connections don’t need to be super creative. Everybody can give you feedback and motivate you to keep going. We sometimes need a push from the outside to channel our inner creative spirit.
8. Buy a nice journal
Do you like to visualize things? If so, you might find it better to draw scetches into a journal. When you’re at your laptop your creativity can be limited by the screen in front of you. It’s not that easy to just scribble something or take a not. Creating visual maps of all your different thoughts allows you to see the relationship between ideas. By writing down your ideas you’re already one step ahead before you make them come true. If you can see your thought process you can structure the process more easily and build your own road map to success.
9. Consume funny content
Do you sometimes need some distraction to get your creativity flowing again? Funny videos can actually be helpful. Research shows a strong correlation between humor and creativity. Humor puts you in a better mood and allows you to think more freely.
All this can help to take a more lighthearted approach to your next project.
10. Turn on some music.
A lot of people debate about the effectiveness of music in terms of creativity and productivity. Some people can focus better while listening to music and others can’t. This is a tip that you should try out with different genres. Certain forms of music can help channel your creativity better than others. Ambient music is very relaxing and can make sure you focus on the right things.
Give it a try!
[Source: Curated from the HubSpot Marketing Blog in English and German