Creativity is quite an elusive state, and it never hits when you need it the most. Even more annoyingly, the more you’re trying to squeeze a good idea, the more stuck and frustrated you’ll get, which leads to a vicious circle that never seems to end.
However, there are ways to train your brain out of the rut, and today we’ll talk about five of the most effective ones (used even by celebrities and powerful CEOs).
#1: Get Up and Go to Work
It doesn’t sound very creative. But if you stay put and wait for inspiration to strike, you may be digging yourself deeper into the ditch of no inspiration.
Instead, take your initial ideas (even if you hate them), put them on paper (or on screen) and see where the action takes you. By simply engaging the brain into thinking about this specific project, you get the creative juices running.
The technique is well-tested and amazingly efficient, as the famous Stephen King once said, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.”
#2: Get Emotional
A 2015 study by Malinda McPherson, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, looked at the connection between our emotional state and creativity. According to the results, emotions are powerful drivers for creativity, but to get the best boost, you should find ways to enlist activities that make you happy.
If not, even a sappy rom-com or a sad love story can push you out of the creative ditch. So, don’t be afraid to explore your emotional side more often; you never know where it might take you.
#3: A Strict Schedule
Again, the technique seems to have nothing to do with creativity. After all, aren’t we supposed to be dreaming all day long and only work when we feel inspired?
Sadly, creativity doesn’t seem to work that way. When you stop and wait for the right type of inspiration to show up, you’re breaking the productivity cycle, which can lead to a blockage. To avoid this, set a strict schedule and stick to it.
For instance, a writer may set the goal to write a specific number of words every 30 minutes. Or a graphic designer may set a deadline for one simple design per day.
The conclusion is that, by setting tight deadlines and sticking to them, you put yourself in a creative groove and build momentum. Furthermore, you remove distractions and learn to stay focused on the task until it is complete.
#4: Go the Other Way
New experiences can be inspiring as they bring new challenges and allow for new neural connections to happen in the brain.
So, find ways to do things that are unusual for your regular schedule, like taking the bus to work instead of driving there or taking an online class on a completely new subject like engineering.
Since change can be scary, start small, but make sure to increase the challenges progressively.
#5: Enjoy Nature
Sometimes you feel the need to get away from it all, and you should give into it. According to recent research and studies, a walk or hike in nature can help relax and unplug, reduces anxiety and stress, and has tremendous benefits for your health.
Furthermore, you’ll be exposed to fresh air and beautiful landscapes, which are a blessing for the mind.
So, if and when you feel stuck, go out for a walk. It can be through a forest or a park, but it needs to be outdoors, in a natural environment that lets your mind wander.
Sadly, creativity is a limited resource, but we can learn to recognize when we’re stuck and act and think in such ways that promote inspiration. So, before you start complaining about your lack of creativity, take a look at your daily habits, and see if they are designed to help or deter creative thinking.