Article by YEC
Creativity inspires us. It gives us purpose and direction, providing a way to pursue goals and establish dreams.
However, creativity does not always come naturally, particularly during moments of stress. Sometimes, even the most creative minds need a little help to get that spark back.
Boosting your creativity can be a simple matter of taking a step back and discovering what works best to motivate you. For more insight, 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 consciousness. 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 to 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. 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.
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. As you walk, you’ll slowly ponder on the problem you’re trying to solve, and you are likely to come up with a unique angle as you do. 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. This knowledge can 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 to break bread, you will spark amazing conversations. 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 from these creative conversations.
7. Play Video Games
I like playing video games because it diverts my mind to a different way of thinking, which allows me to come back later 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 and activates other parts of my brain. Listening to something completely different from what I’m working on sparks my creativity.
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. When I listen to music, I can just relax and focus on the song. That’s when the ideas come more easily.
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. He finds ways to use and play with things 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 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.
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 ever could.
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 go so far as to use sensory deprivation services like Urban Float.
Whatever you do, when you get rid of the overstimulation of the environment around you, it becomes easier to achieve clarity and 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. The boost of creativity kicks in after all the easy ideas are out of the way, and then you’re stacking on good ideas or something completely outside the box.
A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.