We’ve all been there before- you need to work on an important project, write a killer new blog post or come up with a winning marketing campaign, but several hours in, you remain staring at a blank screen. So, when lacking that inspiration, how do you get those creative juices flowing? Well, the CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs have provided their best tips for sparking creativity. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Return to Strategy
As counterproductive as it may sound, my creative kick-start is to return to strategy. Reviewing where I’m going helps me refocus, re-energize and set a series of short term goals to work towards.
2. Create the Past
Whenever I am stuck, I pretend that I am celebrating success and replay what I did to overcome a creative or business obstacle.
It is amazing how that works. Instead of saying "What should I do?" I narrate "This is what I did!"
Also, never use the words "I will find a solution." I say "I created a solution and this is how I did it!"
3. Let's Spark Creativity
I spark creativity when lacking inspiration in business by reading unrelated business magazines. For instance, I grab the latest copy of ESSENCE, Entertainment, ELLE, or People. I then clip eclectic images, highlight sentences, tab off innovative concepts, and collect funky font styles or quirky words that generate industry buzz. Finally, I brainstorm and create blueprints that form the foundation for training, social media marketing campaigns, or talking points for speaking engagements.
4. Not Inspired? Go Outside!
When I'm not inspired, I like to travel and breathe air and eat meals that speak of a new place. No fast food ever! In recent months, I've traveled all over the world and it stimulated my writing like no other activity ever could!
5. Think INSIDE the Box
Many times in business when creativity is a challenge, we start to think outside the box, however, that takes creativity. I look INSIDE the box... to past inspirations, what has worked, what has put a bounce in my step in the past. The result? Usually too many ideas to put into action... which is why writing/typing all your ideas and organizing them into an IDEA FILE will be a great asset the next time you are stuck or creativity is not inspiring new ideas.
6. What's the Big Idea?
The question you have to ask yourself is, “What’s The Big Idea?” because without a big idea, you really don’t have anything special; you’re just a same-old copycat business like thousands of others and if that’s the case, you’re open to price cutting and convenience competitors.
7. Take a Shower!
The best, most creative ideas often come when the mind and body relax. The subconscious mind makes connections that otherwise don't happen and some of the best ideas appear. A nice, hot shower works.
8. Think Like a Child
I'm fortunate because my "day job" is teaching. I work with children every week and seeing the simple things that can make a child happy like a sweet treat at our front desk, a pat on the back for a job well done, asking them about their day or simply saying something funny and making them laugh inspires me. It keeps me young of mind and when we're young of mind, nothing is impossible and only our imagination limits us. That feeling is an eternal well spring of inspiration anyone can tap into.
9. Walk Outside Unplugged + Alone
With so much digital noise (emails, social accounts, text messages, and more), it can be hard to truly have a full thought without interruption. To curb this distraction, I take a walk outdoors without any devices and alone. This gives my mind and body natural stimulation for creativity.
10. Forget About It!
Letting a client down and not having creative ideas happens to almost everyone. The ideas don't come and you don't know what to do. So, I let the ideas cook for a bit. Soon, the ideas come. After the initial panic of absolutely no creative juices flowing, I step back and relax. I forget about the project and do something else. I read. I eat. I walk. I nap. And then, a miracle happens: idea after idea comes to me. This works 90% of the time for me. The other 10% of the time, I'm in panic mode!
11. Do Something Repetitive
I have a fairly unconventional tactic for dealing with this.
Let's say I'm trying to come up with the title for a blog post.
I'll scan through a bunch of blogs & load up my brain with stimulus. Then, I walk away and do something repetitive.
It could be going for a walk, having a shower, gardening or making a sandwich - the key is that it needs to be something that can be done without thinking.
Then, I'll just let my mind wander; eventually, I'll come up with an inspired blog post idea.
12. Collaborative Intelligence
Collective intelligence is shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, collective efforts, and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making. It is a disruptive approach to the old way of competition and hierarchical behavior. I use this approach when I speak about game theory and game based thinking. It is very useful in crowdsourcing applications and I speak about it in most of my books on business strategies. It is one of the most effective tools.
13. Reflecting Back
Unless you had a dull, boring, uninteresting, uneventful life, all one has to do is reflect back.
Think about how many times were you down in your life - whether it had been financial, career, relationship, or a big loss. What was it that you used or did to bring yourself back up?
Think about what you are passionate about. What REALLY ticks you off in today's world? If you could change things, what would you change? How would you change them? Why would you change them?
Become a dreamer.
14. Igniting Creativity
Every morning before eating, drinking or speaking, I go to the loveseat in my studio. I choose 3 oil pastels, without looking, and express in an artist sketchbook with those colors. It is mostly abstract art but may be a scene, a flower, a tree or a design. I then write "I am..." whatever that tells me. On the opposite page, I write a poem which usually rhymes 2nd and 4th lines. This process not only jump-starts my ability to write, but helps me address any challenges in my busy days peacefully.
15. Articles Begin with 2000 Steps
It's hard to be creative on demand, but it's often a requirement for entrepreneurs. When staring at the blank screen or page isn't sparking any new ideas, I know it's time to move. Moving the body helps uncloud the mind. My favorite is a long walk, always with a pen and a scrap of paper tucked into a pocket. Yet, I leave the phone behind or turned off. Attention focused on the sensations of exercise and the beauty of the environment, in no time my mind is alert, active and churning up ideas.
16. Start With Stupid and Dull
When I have got to get creative, but I'm just not feeling inspired, I start with dull, stupid, boring, or clichéd ideas. I'll think up and sometimes, just start writing down whatever comes to mind, even if it's the same old thing or a copy of someone else. Just the process of putting SOME kind of words on paper, or just thinking up SOME ideas, will get my more creative ideas going.
17. Creativity is Everywhere
The best thing I can do for myself when I find that I cannot seem to access my daily dose of creativity is to go for a walk. It does not matter if I am downtown, out on the dyke near my home or somewhere else; I find that somehow, some way, something jumps out and creates that spark.
It is all about being able to look at the world in a different way and say "what if..."! Take the time to notice the world around you, put down your smartphone, take a walk and look around! You will be amazed!
18. Instant Creativity Just Do...
One of the quickest ways I have found to spark business creativity is to read anything written by marking guru Jay Abraham. His marketing books and manuals inspire instant creativity. His book, "Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition" is incredibly good.
19. Do What Hollywood Does
The coffee shops of Los Angeles are filled with writers. Why? A change of scenery, energy, and the idea that the types of distractions of music, noise, and people can actually help the brain kick into gear. As a former writer-producer, I used to hop from coffee shop to coffee shop throughout the day to engage the creative juices and not feel stagnant. The same is true for any creativity needed in business. Change your location. Get out of the office and out of the normal routine.
Paul Shrater of Minimus
20. I Take a Walk
To spark creativity, and to help me think more clearly, I take a walk. I marvel at nature. I take in the sights and sounds around me. I think about the world around us and by the end of the walk, the ideas will come... and at least I'll have gotten some exercise. And if I pass by a store that sells lottery tickets, I'll summon up some lucky numbers, too.
Who knows, maybe today's my lucky day!
21. Movement Will Move You!
Don't fret! Even artists see blank landscapes staring back at them sometimes. When drained or lacking inspiration, the best thing I can do is move. Not my workspace, my body.
When I run, blogs write themselves in my head. We don't always have that kind of time to spend (or sweat) though. Go for a walk, turn on an empowering song & FEEL it. Do a simple yoga pose, stretch.
Movement moves the mind back to a creative space. The time spent brings you back stronger. ROI - return of inspiration.
22. Creating Creativity
I am programmed to become creative to music. I turn on Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto and start to write.
23. Take a Vacation!
Vacation provides a crucial opportunity to recharge, refresh, refocus, and rejuvenate. It gives you the opportunity to temporarily escape daily stress and demands. Because we acclimate to increased stress levels, most people don’t recognize the toll their environment is taking on them, until that environment changes. A change not only provides a mental and physical break, but it allows us distance from our work that provides a new perspective, a creativity boost, and clarity of thought.
24. Mystery Shop Our Competitors
Being in the flooring industry in a very niche market (Spanish tile and stone), there's only so much that we can creatively do to attract more customers and keep them. When I hit a wall of ideas, I mystery shop my relevant competitors. What are they doing differently? How can we do it better, for more ROI, and create more loyalty? Maybe we don't do it exactly how our competitors are doing it, but gaining insight into their initiative spurs on our creative juices!
25. Get Off Your Ass
No, seriously. A wise man once said, "no good idea ever came from sitting down." When we're stumped, we go for a run, walk, ride- whatever. Literally, getting those creative juices flowing!
26. Reboot Your Brainwaves
Creativity happens when brainwaves are in theta. A lack of creativity may mean we're in beta brain (monkey mind - chatter). To get into theta, I walk in nature, take a shower or a nap. These are all effective ways I reboot my brain into theta.
27. A Blazing Heart for Art
As a creative and highly reflective thought leader, the crux of my content is driven by inspiration. Stagnation is the result of being void of motivation to explore one’s deepest imagination until there is enough CAN DO power to fuel implementation. If my mental and emotional tank is running low, I intentionally begin to unplug from social media and the internet to hear my own voice clearly through quiet meditation. It is impossible for a dry well to satisfy a longing soul dying of thirst.
28. Doodle Your Way to Creativity
When I am blocked, feeling uninspired at any moment, I see it as a sign that my creative flow is starving and needs some nourishment.
The easiest way I've found to bring my head out of the uninspired trap is to do something with my mind that is joyfully creative.
I recommend doodling on any piece of paper (or bar napkin) you have handy. It will take your mind out of "I can't" and place it firmly into the wondrous joy of creation. It works because blocks can't live where creativity flows.
29. Questions Create Possibilities
Are you fresh out of ideas to create? What if you tried asking questions? Questions create, whereas answers stop creation.
Some questions you could use are:
What else is possible here that I haven't considered?
What's right about this that I'm not getting (for things not going well)?
How does it get any better than this (for good or bad events)?
Hint: everything not ending with a ? is probably an answer, conclusion, or judgment. ALL of them stop creation! How about giving them a try?
30. The Magic Elixir of Creativity
We are the only rubber duck company in America making the safest rubber ducks back in the USA where the industry began. Since we do so much custom work for clients, it can get pretty stressful coming up with new ideas and meeting deadlines. But not to worry, we have a chocolate division, so we all meet to drink our delicious gluten & dairy free hot chocolate and come up with new ideas. It sparks everyone's creative juices and we all have so much fun. Ducks and chocolate... what's not to like!
31. Mindful Recipe for Creativity
"The Mindful Revolution: Recipe for Creating Flourishing Life and Business"
We believe in creating an environment where we are instantly able to convert chaos to stability by empowering the employees by teaching them how they can move from emptiness to fulfillment and awaken their creativity through inspiration.
Everything starts with cognitive brain and thought process. No more fight & flight activities. We condition our mind by doing our daily meditation practices, during breaks.
32. Start Doodling
Our minds hold a lot of creativity, but sometimes, it can't find a way out. Doodling is one way to release that creativity. I did a short post on this a couple years ago.
33. Getting it Right
Getting to the right side of my brain, the creative side, means stepping outside of my comfort zone in different areas of my life. When I feel stuck, I reflect on opportunities and challenges that will help me make a shift. I move to getting out of my routine in life and taking myself to different places that result in different experiences such as art/pottery classes, unique exercise opportunities, i.e. boxing, paddle boarding, yoga and even joining different meet-ups to expand my circle.
34. Vision Board it
Keep your vision(s) in front of you every day and update the info often, so that every day, you will be inspired and be able to focus on what you want by using a vision board. The board should be able to express what you are striving for now and be flexible enough and evolving frequently to keep you excited about what will happen next.
Myles Miller of LeadUP
35. Fire Up Your Creative Brain!
When I was CEO for a large non-profit, I'd sometimes suffer from creativity burnout. My go-to solution was to take art classes. It didn't matter what kind. By the second class, my creative brain was alive again AND I was having fun! I also use art classes to enhance my problem-solving skills. After all, figuring out perspective in a drawing is not that much different than gaining the right perspective on a corporate problem. It's simple and it works!
36. Ask Your Niche
I use Quora to see which topics are being discussed in my niche. What are people looking for and can't find answers to? I also check out my most popular material and see if I can expand on that.
37. Take a Run, Look at a Bird!
One of the best things that I do for inspiring creativity while lacking inspiration is to take a light run outside. This kills two birds with one stone. Why? An elevated heart rate moves you away from laziness, and the things that you see outside spark thinking and curiosity. Thinking about the reasons why a bird flies can lead to a thought about soaring profits, which leads to another thought. Let your mind run wild! Surely, the worst thing in this whole experience is the first few steps…
Sebastien Dupéré of Dupray
38. Go Outside!
Go outside! That is what I do to spark inspiration and it always works. Try a new walking path or head somewhere familiar and notice the details around you. With benefits similar to meditation, time in nature and the fresh air allows you to reduce stress, re-energize, and reconnect with new ideas.
39. Think of the Alternative
I write a novel's worth of content every month and sometimes, the process is daunting. But even when I feel like I can't write another word, I remind myself that every sentence I write brings me another step closer to mastering my craft. When I need motivation, I just think of how I'd feel if I wasn't creating anything at all and that's just terrifying. So, I write and try to do good work every day, not because I'm paid to do it, but because every single word is better than doing nothing at all.
40. Unaccompanied Cello
I’m a photographer, artist and writer and whenever I need a boost in creativity, I listen to Yo-Yo Ma play Bach. Specifically the Unaccompanied Cello Suites. I'll play it loud, close my eyes and let the music go through me. I focus on the notes and try not to think about anything else. I always wonder, though, why do serial killers in movies always listen to classical music? Does it help their creativity, too?
41. Drawing for Creativity
We are nine people in an open concept office that is often quieter than an empty library. Finding sparks of creative genius can be hard when the team is heads-down-headphones-on working. To combat this, we head to a comfy couch area in our office and play a rousing game of Telestrations, which is a combination of Pictionary and telephone. It's quick, always hilarious, and leaves everyone ready to head back to work fresh and ready to embrace creativity in whatever they are working on.
42. Easy Creativity Booster
There are thousands of binaural/solfeggio/isochronic frequency videos on YouTube for everything that you can imagine: releasing fat cells, scar-tissue pain, attracting wealth, feeling calm and tranquil, you name it!
Drink lots of water (keeps your body electronics balanced), get out the Bose headset and enjoy!
43. StumbleUpon Brainstorming!
I brainstorm for my script coverage service by using StumbleUpon. “Stumbling” is basically just “channel surfing” through a vast array of websites and topics, and it’s an add-on for most browsers. I do my best to "Stumble" topics that have little or nothing to do with my business, which allows me to pry myself out of worrying about what's going on in my particular niche and focus on being as inventive as possible. For me, it's all about the new synapses.
44. Long Walks Bring Inspiration
When I am lacking inspiration, I go on a long walk. I use long walks to wander the streets and reignite my brain. I take in the city that I'm in and use what I see and hear to make me think creatively.
Embracing the city around me sends my mind into an almost surreal state of creativity. Ideas just start flowing and I fall back into a motivated state of mind.
My best ideas have come to me on long walks, particularly when the long walk has been after a period of creative frustration.
Alex Kehr of Wander
45. Mind Map Your Ideas On Paper
My biggest tip for sparking creativity when lacking inspiration is to create a mind map around the central subject of choice. List out ideas and create a spider web of similar associations. The more ideas you list, the more associations that will pop into your head. Try not to set boundaries for your thoughts and list everything that comes to mind without judgement. After a comprehensive web of ideas have been listed, then go back and refine/alter your list.
46. Get Weird!
I am wildly extroverted, so my truly unique ideas come when I'm exhausted, flopping around on the living room floor, eating peanut butter and potato chips, and telling stories and jokes with my friends. The combination of my sleepy-nonsense brain and a judgement-free comfort zone lets my mind wander off and come back with something like a video where I get drunk and try to interpret Japanese kanji or a fully-scripted shower scene for the hypothetical sitcom I'll never write.
47. Music Videos Inspire Weddings
As a wedding and event planner, I usually turn to music videos for inspiration when my well has run dry. I had a bride recently who was looking for a New Orleans inspired vintage wedding. All I did was start searching music videos and came across Beyoncé's "Formation" video; when I watched it, I was inspired to produce a gorgeous celebration for my client, with creative New Orleans touches taken directly from the decor used in the video!
48. Creative Spark in the Dark
Turn off the lights, put some essential oils in the diffuser, and lie down for 15-to-30 minutes.
49. Let's Get Physical
I telecommute as part of a marketing team for a telemedicine solution. When not feeling creative, I take a 10 minute break to do something physical from start to finish. I'll go water the garden, unload the dishwasher, or chop up vegetables for a salad for lunch. It's a short task that keeps me moving the entire time. I found that for me, it's important that I be able to start and finish something. It's satisfying and reignites my creative fire.
Gwendolyn Kestrel of doxy.me
50. Hit the Road!
If I'm hitting the wall with a particular project, then my go to is to lace up my running shoes and hit the trail. I'm lucky that the Northern Beaches have some amazing scenery but wherever you are in the world, you shouldn't have to run far before inspiration sets in. Leave the tech at home, no music, no phone; completely cut yourself off. Don't focus on a particular task, the alone time you've set for yourself and the repetitive rhythmic nature of running gives your mind the freedom to wander.
51. Connect With a Stranger
Go out and start a short conversation with someone whom you wouldn't usually speak with - a store cashier, a homeless person, someone next to you on a train or in a line, or a neighbor you don't know well. It doesn't have to be about your business concerns. It can be about anything. Just that small touchpoint with someone else's world and point of view helps get you out of your own head. When you come back to your desk, you bring fresh perspectives and ideas that in turn spark your creativity.
52. Change Your Thoughts...
When lacking inspiration on a project, I usually turn off my thoughts about it and go do something physical. For me, that's going outside and doing something. Then, I usually can come back with a fresh perspective and can get through that which stumped me before.
53. Creativity Spark
When ideas are not flowing, it's time to get going! Walking 3-4 miles every day is good for your body and mind. Endorphins kick in high gear and amazing things happen in your cranium! If you are a visual type, then browsing through magazines or books can jump start an idea from out of left field. I also find that performing a really mundane task like driving will put me in low gear and as I am more relaxed, my mind starts to wander and I am able to think more clearly.
54. Remember Why You Started
The first thing we do when we feel like we need an inspiration is that we remember why we started.
We always remember this phrase when we're in the phase of giving up:
Until you realize
is the only choice
55. Inspiration is Earned
Inspiration is earned. It lives at the crossroads of focus and passion. When you are passionate about something -- passionate enough to work on it, even when you don't want to -- you will find that creativity always comes eventually.
56. Organize a Networking Night
When I'm lacking inspiration, I organize a networking night out. Listening to the stories of like-minded professionals is a sure fire way to get the wheels turning.
57. Creative Auto-Pilot
As a professional who has to come up with creative ideas on the spot, I often think back to a time I was feeling creative and just reuse and tweak that idea. However, more than often, it creates a whole new image with a different theme and nuances becoming unrecognizable from my original. I call this my auto-pilot mode. Having a good cup of coffee or a nap can help a lot, as well as listening to inspiring creative music while chewing gum; for some reason, this helps me focus.
58. Restrain Your Brain
My favorite counterintuitive way of sparking creativity is by giving myself restrictions. Imagine that you’re stuck on marketing ideas for your business; give yourself the restriction that it has to bring in sales within the next 48hrs with $10 investment maximum, and see what you can come up with. This works in every aspect of business and life because it avoids overload and gives your brain a framework!
59. Start a Note-taking Habit
The best ideas often come when you least expect them. They're also quickly forgotten, so it's a good idea to write them down as they come. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. That’s the beauty of it. The basic note-taking app on your phone, a notebook, whatever floats your boat. Write it down, even if it’s just one word. Over time, you’ll have a whole repository of ideas at your fingertips. All you’ll need to kick-start your creativity is to have a look at your notes.
60. See What Other People Do
When lacking inspiration in business, I will go outside or start browsing on the net and see what other people do.
I will find people that do similar things with me (for example, my competitors or other webmasters) and see their promotions, sales, and conversion strategies.
Sometimes, I will ask them for some tips and surprisingly, most of them will share their best tips with me, even though some of them are my competitors.
61. Give Your Brain a Spark!
When I get stuck or need a boost of creative inspiration, I like to use random prompts to jolt my brain into exploring new tangents. These prompts can be anything: a word from the dictionary, an image from my instagram feed, an object on my desk, a book title or even a random page on stumbleupon. The weirder the better! Then, I use the prompt as a trigger to brainstorm at least five new ideas or solutions. It really helps to expand my thinking and get me out of a creative rut.
62. Countdown Creativity
You don't grow a Facebook page like we have without trying to get creative with your posts. So, when that creativity dries up, it can be extremely frustrating trying to reignite it. But, rather than heading to the coffee machine for yet another cup, try my 'countdown' technique.
Open up a blank document, set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes and type everything that comes into your head. 90% of it will be nonsense, but the other 10% will get your creative juices flowing in no time.
63. Opposites Recharge
Do the extreme opposite! If, for example, your inspiration lags as the result of a long stretch of mental work, switch to something powerfully physical--an undertaking that leaves you hot, aching, and bone tired. Another example? If you lose your spark while working with numbers, read a poem. But not just any poem--but rather, one (or a collection) that paints vivid images in the mind. In sum, immerse yourself in something that is the polar opposite!
64. Putting Calms the Mind
My work is exhilarating and on a normal day, my calendar is full, interacting with clients and colleagues on numerous legal issues. I have a mini putting green in my office and when I’m in need of inspiration, I’ll place a call on the speaker phone, and perform some strategic putting – placing the golf balls neatly into the cup. It calms my mind and relieves the chaos of the day, often placing my brain in a different place, allowing me to think of creative ways to handle a problem.
65. Pow Wow, Ancient Bath & Sleep
How do I spark creativity when I am lacking inspiration?
I do either or all of the following: 1.) Go to a pow wow. 2.) Take a bath in Ancient Himalayan sea salt crystals. 3.) Get a good night's sleep.
I literally started a successful business by following all three and then, repeating as often as needed.
Honor your mind, body, and spirit, and you will always find ways to spark the creative side in you.
66. Bubble Baths = Inspiration
Being a lead website designer for a website design firm, there are many times creativity just isn't there. I am lucky enough to be able to work from my home office, so every time I feel "stuck" and uninspired, I run a nice bubble bath. For some reason the hot water, bubbles, amazing scents and aura of the room magically sparks ideas. Most times, I have to cut it short because the creativity begins flowing so quickly.
67. Ideas for Inspiration
Take time to play. Kids have recess; we should have time for fun. So, for at least 15 minutes, read a trashy novel, play words with friends, shoot baskets at your trash can, call someone for no reason, fantasize about your vacation, etc. You know what you enjoy or what you used to before job, family and other responsibilities made you forget. So, find something and do it every day.
68. Inspiration is Possible!
Creativity can fluctuate from extreme inspiration to a complete void of thought. In order to stay inspired, first try a mental refresh. Getting outdoors for a walk around the block in the sunshine can do wonders for inspiration. Next, start brainstorming for idea generation. From these keywords, a plethora of ‘inspiration’ is made possible!
69. Power Down and Shower Up
As someone who makes their living by being creative, I often have to overcome the challenge of a lack of inspiration. When I really need a "creative time out" I take a nice, long shower. Almost all of my best ideas come to me in the shower, probably because I have to be totally engaged and in the moment when I'm in there. There are no distractions, no emails, no phone calls--I'm able to just be present and get back to the basics, which usually helps to reignite my creative spark!
70. Solo Foreign Travel Works!
If I am completely unable to spark innovation, I’ll travel to a foreign country alone. I first did this for different reasons as a young engineer at Honda in Japan. I went to countries where I could not speak the language or read the alphabet. I found that I recognized possibilities and opportunities I never saw before until I stepped far out of my comfort zone, opened my eyes and looked around. Now, I travel solo overseas to recapture this feeling and re-spark my innovation and creativity.
71. Ultimate Escapism
When I'm lacking inspiration, I read -- not blog posts, not emails, but a novel, for pleasure, like in the old days. Something about holding a book in my hand, doing something for pleasure, and enjoying someone else's creativity helps me break out of my typical thinking patterns and move into another level of imagination.
72. Cold Training + Collaboration
When I need creative inspiration in business, I always collaborate after cold training. This usually works best in the winter because I will literally jump in the ocean with freezing temps to get my blood flowing– strengthening the immune system and boosting mental stamina and creativity. Once my mind is open, I assemble my core staff and toss ideas around. Brilliance in a vacuum is invisible to itself, so I always like to get others involved. Cold training + collaboration = creative results.
73. Change Your Geography
To be creative & innovative, we need to be able to look at things in a whole new way. That's much easier to do when you're not in your same old surroundings!
Get out of the office! Go to the park, a museum or even a Starbucks.
Get out of your normal perspective! Ask yourself how Scooby Do would approach this challenge. Or Harry Potter. Or Pope Francis.
Step out of your box and put on another character, time, place and location. You can't help but see things in a new way.
74. Smackdown 100
Get a timer -- your phone has one. Set it for 10 minutes. In that time, try to get 100 ideas down -- without censoring and judgment. Never lift your pen from the paper (or hands from the computer). Write or type the whole time.
This "unsticks" your creativity quickly, leaving you no time for worry or self-criticism!
75. Tickle the Ivories
Learning to play an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. The brain is a muscle and learning and playing music is like a full body workout that strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities... like creativity. Instead of picking up a self-help book, grab a guitar. My creative spark was under my bed for years before I discovered it.
76. Rid the World of Boring Shirts
We get outside and go for a walk. Yes, it’s slightly cliché. Maybe it's not feasible in all seasons if you don't live in LA. But it's proven to increase creative thinking. Going outside led to our latest successful brand video on the pains of ill-fitting shirts, helped inspire us to build a space shooter game where customers get discounts by shooting blobby, boring men's button-downs, and created a number of strategy revelations that will remain with us until we unleash them on the world.
77. Sparking Creativity
Sitting at my desk is the worst thing I can do when I'm lacking creativity and clarity. My go-to spark-inducing activity is running. Getting out on the trail to clear my mind, step back a little and burn off that pent up energy is usually exactly what I need to bring things back into perspective. I've had some of my best ideas out on the trail because I can drift off and see things from a new angle.
78. Overcoming Creative Roadblocks
When I hit a creative roadblock, I take a 15 minute break and drive around the area to clear my mind and find inspiration outside of the office. That way, when I come back to what I was working on, I can have a fresh look at the obstacle that I was stuck on.
79. Take a Deep Breath
Any time I feel stuck writing an article, I lay down and do some breathing exercises. This helps me relax my mind, think more clearly and focus better on the task at hand.
80. Reflect on Your Roots
Many times, it can be hard to stay focused after a long day in meetings and it can be easy to lose creativity at the end of a long day. When this happens to me, I go to the sales floor and see all of the woodworking tools and people who are shopping for woodworking supplies. That really reminds me why I started my business and why I love the woodworking industry. It helps boost my creativity and reignite my passion for woodworking.
81. Get Out of the Office
When I get in a creative rut, I go walk around Montreal. My business is located in Montreal’s Diamond District in Phillips Square, so I take in all the old buildings and statues around the area. These really capture the beauty of Montreal and inspire me to take my work to the next level.
82. Bounce Ideas Off People
I always bounce ideas off of my assistant, Jackie. She brings a unique perspective on many of the cases I work on and having an extra opinion helps bring new, creative ideas to the table. Sometimes, having that extra brain power can be a game changer with a certain case.
83. Clear Your Mind With Yoga
I always do a quick 5-minute yoga session. It helps clear and refresh my mind when I get frustrated with a creative rut. I can focus my breathing and I feel less stressed when there’s a tight deadline.
84. Leave Your Comfort Zone
I remove myself from my office setting and visit our showroom. Just leaving the comfort of my desk allows me to think outside the box and get over the creative block. It also helps me focus my attention on our blinds and our wonderful customers that make my job great!
85. New Scenery, New Ideas
When I am struggling creatively, I like to go on a walk and clear my thoughts. My office is across the street from the University of Tampa and a short walk from the waterfront of the Tampa Bay. I take a lot of inspiration from the architecture of the buildings on the UT campus and from the waterfront views of Tampa. This helps me focus and filter out any non-work related thoughts I have in my mind, allowing me to generate new ideas and angles to take for a case.
86. Find Inspiration From Family
As a family law attorney, I often find myself inspired by my own family when I get writer's block at work. The picture of my wife and children on my desk allows my mind to focus on the family's case I'm working on in a different light.
I ponder, "How would I feel if my family was the center of this case?"
This allows me to find a new perspective and perpetuate my creativity when I get stuck on something.
87. A Business Man's Best Friend
We have an in-house mascot at our office and her name is Vega. She's one of our manager's dog, but she's always hanging out at the office.
When I find myself at a creative roadblock, I sit down and hang out with Vega for a little bit. This allows me to wind down and relieve the stress of creative thinking. That way, I can come back to the project with a fresh mind and newly inspired creativity.
88. Turn Up the Radio
When I'm working on a home improvement project, a lot of my creativity can be distracted by all of the sounds of the hammers and other tools. So, when I need to focus more attention and creativity for overcoming an issue, I turn up the volume on my radio. The music helps me focus my attention on the task at hand, rather than all of the sounds going on around the house.
89. Just Sit On It
If I ever struggle with a creative task, I always do as much as I can and then, let my brain sit on it for a night. When I come back to the task the next morning, I have given myself time to reflect on the ideas that I thought of during the night and decide whether to implement them or not.
90. Creativity Comes From Within
As a salon and spa owner, there are always ideas going through my mind on new hairstyles or new ways to apply makeup for my clients. So, whenever I hit a creative dead end, I sit down and just start playing around with different ideas. Whether it's a new way to put up a bun in my hair or a new way to apply nail polish, this always helps me visualize my ideas and decide whether or not the idea will pan out to be good or not.
91. My Anti-stuck Secret Weapon!
To spark my creativity, I schedule time with one of my closest coach friends who aren’t afraid to call BS on the fear in my head. There are very few people I trust enough to allow in this space, but it is CRUCIAL to my mental and emotional health. They speak with familiarity, love, and truth that rock me out of my rut. It takes a ton of energy from me and requires immense courage from my coaches. They refuse to save me when the conversation gets hard. It's accountability at its best!
92. Do Something Mindless
It seems counter-intuitive, but I have found the best way to spark creativity is to do something mindless, like fold laundry. If my brain is really "stuck," I put on music and do the dishes, vacuuming, mowing, etc. Sometimes, the best way to find a great idea is to stop looking for it!
93. Get Outside!
A great way to recharge at work, and keep your creativity flowing, is to take a walk between tasks. Sometimes, all you need is to be reminded of the world outside your office walls to keep yourself in check. Stretch your legs, breathe in the fresh air, smile at strangers, and notice the little things going on outside of the office. Once you're back, you'll be ready to hit the ground running and finish the day strong.
94. Capture the spark!
When I’m feeling stuck, I reach for one of my Spark Files— places where I keep brilliant ideas that pop into my head, quotes, magazine or ad layouts that catch my eye, or emails that make me want to buy. I keep a physical file on my credenza, I carry a small notebook, and I use Evernote online. Ideas are all around us; we just need to capture them. It’s kind of like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter. Otherwise, I may not remember that idea or that phrase when I need it most.
95. Flippin’ for Ideas
Grab any book or magazine. Close your eyes. Flip through the pages. Stop at a random page. Read 1-3 paragraphs. Link what you read to your business issue. Look for clues. Need more? Repeat. This time, use a photo or headline. Link that to the 1-3 paragraphs you just read. Trust your brain to make connections. Need more? Do it again, but use just the last sentence in a book or article. Link that to the text, photo or headline. Together, this creates a story; a springboard for inspiration.
Thanks to: Olga Fernandez.
96. Let Your Team Inspire You
When I hit an inspirational roadblock at work, I consult my staff. As CEO, I've been able to surround myself with people I trust and appreciate, and that means that I can look to them for inspiration and imaginative solutions. Having a great team is integral to the success of any business and a great team will help stimulate your creativity.
97. Vision Inspires!
Vision Boards spark my creativity! Over the years, I have created 100s of all shapes and sizes. Capturing a wide range of images and words from high fashion glossy mags to business journals is fodder for creativity. These boards have inspired names and designs for my programs, courses, book covers, blog posts, Facebook banners – you name it! And on those days when I feel stuck or frustrated as the wheels of progress turn slowly, I look to my vision wall, smile, and persevere!
98. Think About Something Else
Creativity is a hard nut to crack. For me, sometimes the answer lies in taking a walk to and from the Ferry Building here in San Francisco. A good 30-minute break from the Center that takes me outside, among SF natives and tourists alike, always helps me feel inspired. Or, I Google something I know little about. Getting an influx of new information on an unrelated interesting topic often unsticks me from the moment and gets the creativity flowing.
99. Get Out & Get Inspired!
Feeling uninspired? Lacking creativity?
And by that I mean get out of your 'normal' surroundings and away from your 'usual' inputs - expose yourself to something new and different. This works for me EVERY single time!
Whether it's spending time in a new-to-you environment, reading something unrelated to what you do, or chatting with someone in a totally different line of work, just letting your brain wander and re-set with new inputs may be all it takes to feel inspired!
100. 80's Hair Ballad Inspiration
To reignite my creative juices, I sit down at the piano, close my eyes, and play "Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue. This is the first song I learned to play on piano, so it requires no conscious thought to hit the right chords and weave in the melody. Playing this simple, beautiful, familiar song quiets the unrelenting cacophony in my head. It's my go-to vehicle back to the present moment. All thoughts of past and future dissipate, and there’s space for creativity to ignite and blossom.
101. Let it Come to You
Stop doing what you're doing and change the atmosphere. My go-to way to do this is to go somewhere different and meet with people who aren't connected to what I'm doing on a daily basis. I always end up having conversations
that show me things in a new light that somehow connect to what I'm working on. The most important thing is not to look for creativity, but to let it come.
Enon Landenberg of sFBI
102. Make Your Blood Boil
The tip that I use time and time again is: I think about what angers me. I think about what gets my blood boiling and I start writing about it. I write and write and leave everything on the paper pad. This trick allows me to get to a place where both passion and motivation lie. Once I get to this place where I can harness both of these emotions, I am able to narrow down what is vital and the creativity comes. This trick is perhaps the single greatest tool for jolting myself out of stagnation.
103. Go Ahead and Take a Walk
When creativity lags, I think of the memorable TED Talk with Nilofer Merchant titled ‘Got a meeting? Take a walk’. Her key lesson: you may be surprised how fresh air can drive fresh thinking. My personal benefits: it allows me to spark my creativity while taking care of my health and business obligations all at the same time.
104. I <3 NYC!
Whenever I need some inspiration, I plan a quick trip to New York City. The city is brimming full of energy, creativity and life that you can't help but be inspired. I fill up my trip with visits to galleries, museums and magazine shops all over the city. I also make sure to visit old friends that live there because seeing them invigorates me as well. Stepping away from all of my responsibilities and filling my day with creativity and fun always does the trick!
105. Digestible Inspiration
Eating unusual foods can create weird dreams. If I’ve eaten something unusual and I'm looking for creativity, I take an extra step. Before I go to sleep, I ask myself to provide a dream with inspiration or a solution to a problem. I already know I'm going to have a weird dream (or nightmare), so if my brain is going to go someplace strange anyway, might as well put it to good use. You have to be open to interpreting symbols for your answer, as the subconscious is a little bizarre.
Over a glass of whisky with a number of friends, casually put your ideas to them, but carefully listen to what they have to say. When slightly intoxicated, many ideas come out, most useless, but listen for that one idea that always appears, no matter how ridiculous it may sound at that time.
Do you have a tip for sparking creativity that wasn’t included? If so, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!