We’ve all been there - instead of diving into a daunting assignment you procrastinate or delay, staring instead at a blank screen, completely uninspired. Whether it’s writing a blog post, drafting a news release or strategizing how to squeeze more money out of a department budget, creativity is your best bet for getting the job done. But how do you find it? Here are five tips to spark the right side of your brain, and get the ideas flowing again.
Tip 1: Stop Stressing (Really)
You may respond to this with “but my boss needs this yesterday,”or, “but I have to rescue this project from disaster!” Those things may be true but stressing over them will only shut down the main thing you need to get the job done: your creative brain. Relax. Here’s one way: Take a walk. Studies have shown that walking (even on a treadmill) increases both creativity and output. Walk around the block, the building, from one end of your office to the other. Walk until your mind feels empty—the perfect state for finding new ideas.
Tip 2: Laughter Really IS the Best Medicine (for Your Creativity)
There may be more than one reason the internet is dominated by funny cat videos—comedy makes the brain more capable of solving problems. Psychologists have discovered that both studying comedy and watching it on film increase our brains’ ability to come up with novel solutions. Even though it may sound counterproductive, take 15 minutes to watch funny videos on YouTube. See what it does for your ideas.
Tip 3: Break Your Routine
Do you have the same thing for lunch every day? A sandwich, in the corner of the breakroom, so you can be at back your desk working by 12:29 on the dot? Switch it up! Instead of that sandwich, go around the corner to a cafe. The sandwiches might not be better than the one you brought, but that’s not the point. What do you see on your walk there? Who’s behind the counter? Wait, they don’t even have sandwiches! Get a cup of soup instead. And now you’re back to work at 1:02, with your brain fully awake. Why? New and unusual experiences get us out of thinking ruts and boost cognitive ability.
Tip 4: Get Bored
Boredom at work is a common complaint, but when you’re trying to goose your creativity it may be just what you need. Take your focus away from the creative project at hand. What is the most tedious thing you need to do today? Catch up on time sheets? Update a spreadsheet? Send 20 form emails? Do it. Now. Why? Boredom just before tackling a creative task stimulates your mind and improves your ability to think inventively.
Tip 5: Flip Your Goal Upside Down and Inside Out
What are you trying to do? Come up with a brilliant grand opening event? Imagine the wildest one you can think of instead. Write the most readable, catchy social post? Write the clunkiest, most confusing one you can imagine. This seemingly insane practice is called “inversion” and can work magic in allowing your best ideas to rise to the top of your mind. Just a few minutes of inverted thinking can get all the bad ideas out of the way, so you can focus on the best ones.
In addition to these five hacks, reading about the latest stories and trends is also a great way to spark creativity. To do that, look no further than Nexis Newsdesk™, which is packed with endless bites of information to fuel your next project.