Creativity helps inspire us. It gives us purpose and direction, as well as provides a way to pursue goals and establish dreams. However, creativity might not always come naturally, particularly during moments of stress or periods of long lulls—sometimes, even the most creative minds need a little help to get that spark back.
Finding ways to boost your creativity can be a simple matter of taking a step back and discovering what works best to motivate you as an individual. To learn more, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council about their go-to hacks when they need a boost of creativity. Here is what they said:
1. Learn a new skill.
When you need a boost of creativity, usually your unconscious is having difficulty surfacing to your conscious. To circumvent this, learn a new skill. For example, if you’re struggling with writer’s block and you normally write technical pieces, take a quick course on how to write comedy. It frees up your ability to think and changes your perspective enough that you can tap into creativity.
2. Go on social media.
If I need a boost of creativity, I like to go on social media and take my mind off of anything technical. Immersing myself in something completely different gets the wheels in my head turning and encourages me to think differently, which is where my creativity boost stems from. It’s important not to focus on one thing for too long, and social media helps me do just that.
3. Write things down.
When I need a boost of creativity, I like to brainstorm by writing things down. I write down anything that comes to mind—thoughts, feelings, ideas, concepts and so on without giving it much thought. Afterward, I read my list. I always find that at least one of my random thoughts can inspire some creativity.
4. Go for a walk.
It’s incredibly simple but don’t let that put you off. Studies have shown that walking increases creativity rapidly. Every time I catch myself in a slump, I take a 20-30 minute walk near the office without trying to force anything to happen. You’ll slowly ponder on whatever problem you’re trying to solve and are likely to come up with a unique angle. Worst case, you come back to work refreshed.
5. Research other brands.
One of the best ways to find inspiration and trigger creativity is by researching other brands. Avoid competitors and, instead, look at what companies in similar industries are doing with their customer service, marketing and design. Browse their websites, social media profiles and customer reviews to see what they’re doing differently to help you ideate new ways to improve your business, too.
6. Have dinner with a diverse group of smart people.
By bringing people from different backgrounds together on an equal footing to break bread, you will find amazing conversations and creativity flow. When business leaders, engaged citizens, sharp engineers, scientists, artists, social entrepreneurs and others come together for innovative exchange and big thinking, you will definitely receive a personal boost with these creative conversations.
7. Play video games.
I like playing video games because it diverts my mind to think differently and then allows me to come back and do something more creative. It’s stimulating for me and provides the outlet I’m looking for to give my brain a break.
8. Listen to a podcast.
There are thousands of podcasts to choose from that cover all different topics and use different approaches to connect with listeners. I like to listen to storytelling podcasts that have nothing to do with work when I need to unwind. It refreshes my mind, activating other parts of my brain, and sparks my creativity when I listen to something completely different from what I’m working on.
9. Listen to music.
Whether listening to it or playing it myself, music is my go-to hack when I need a boost of creativity. It’s hard to focus your thoughts sometimes when you have so many things on your mind. But when I listen to music, I can just relax and focus on the song. When my mind is focused and relaxed, ideas come easier.
10. Play with your kids.
Kids have a never-ending supply of creativity. I’m constantly inspired by the way my almost-2-year-old makes everything fun, and finds ways to use and play with things that I would have never considered. When I need a creative boost, I play with him (blocks, painting, reading, etc.), ask him questions, and draw inspiration from his endless fascination with the world.
11. Take a power nap.
A short nap can help reset your brain and get you in the right frame of mind for creating. I usually take a 20-minute nap if I’m feeling creatively bankrupt and need to analyze my thoughts. At first, you’ll find it difficult to nap when thinking about a project, but a short nap helps fuel creativity more than staring blankly at your screen.
12. Try sensory deprivation.
Improving your focus through sensory deprivation can be a great boost for creativity. While going for a walk is a simple way to do this, a lot of entrepreneurs and professionals have been resorting to sensory deprivation services like Urban Float. Whatever you do, when you deprive yourself of overstimulation from the environment around you, it becomes easier to achieve clarity and thus creativity.
13. Write a top 10 list.
When I need a boost of creativity, I develop a top 10 list on the topic. The first seven ideas are usually fairly easy to come by. It’s ideas 8-10 where I slow down and really have to think. That’s where the boost of creativity kicks in after all the easy ideas are out of the way, and we’re stacking on good ideas or something completely outside the box.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
Photo by Jan Střecha / Unsplash