Do you remember when you were a child and channeling your imagination was as second nature as breathing? You could be turned loose for hours with toys or better yet, a cardboard box and a few kitchen utensils, and the possibilities were endless.
As an adult, your career undoubtedly requires you to produce innovative ideas on a regular basis to continually grow in your role, or into new roles. I find myself wishing I could more easily access that pool of uninfluenced inspiration, on demand. Everyone has experienced a creative block, no matter what their industry asks of them. And although individuals find their visions in different ways, the Holmes team has put together ten different tips below to help in those times of absentmindedness.
- Be positive. Your mood alters your productivity, so if you’re feeling distraught, take a break and get happy!
- Clearly define the necessary steps of action and avoid multi-tasking to intensify your focus. Only research when you are researching, and stop once you start working.
- Evaluate your problem from different angles before worrying about the solution. We are all results driven, but paying more attention to the details of the process will lead to a better solution.
- Pause to daydream or doodle. Let your mind work on autopilot and see where you end up.
- Try reverse psychology. Instead of creating something from a blank slate, restrict yourself with a word limit if you’re writing or design with only one color. Even time limits can impact your approach and force you to break your normal patterns.
- Think of problems that have already been solved, and solve them again in a different way. Whether it was a project in your office, or a historical event, imagining what you would have done differently will help broaden your overall thought process.
- Imagine the creative process of something outside of your industry. Look at a large city building or new tech gadget and try to visualize the steps that took it from a brainstorming meeting to completion.
- Question how to displease your audience before developing ways to please them. What would shock or anger them? Once you have evaluated the wrong approach, the right one may come to you easier. Also play musical chairs with your audience. Cater a project to an audience vastly different from the intended one. Again examining routes outside of your main path might lead to a more successful end result.
- Ask for input from someone you wouldn’t normally approach about a particular project. Have people openly dissect your work. Fresh perspectives, if you’re open to them, always break down barriers of tunnel vision.
- Interact with thought stimulating objects or make creativity a physical activity. You could put together a puzzle or have a group write ideas on paper posted all over the office. Changing the way you normally brainstorm can change the outcome as well.
No matter what you try, just take action; bad ideas are still ideas and progress. At Holmes, we have been delving into variations of our own creative process. We will be holding our first meeting solely for open-ended brainstorming next week. Like everyone, we get wrapped up in the daily tasks and perfecting current projects, and sometimes we don’t allow enough time to really push ourselves creatively. So we decided to start with a monthly meeting, each time with a varied group, to talk about unique things we’ve seen, dream projects, and ways we can continue to grow. Watch the blog and our Facebook page to see what we come up with!
What works for you when you face a creative block? We would love to hear your tips in the comment section below!