Published 27 September 2016 Category: Compass Tips

7 Ways to Kick Start Your Creativity

Having new ideas is the cornerstone to building any business – but what about those times when the only thing you manage to produce is an empty screen? Suffering from the occasional mental block is a totally normal part of working life… but it’s how you pull yourself out of it that matters. Here are a few tips for kick-starting your creativity when you need it most.
 

Change your scenery
When you’re feeling uninspired, nothing feels worse than a blank screen that refuses to be filled. During these times, a change of scenery can work wonders – simply getting out from behind your computer, going for a walk and getting a breath of fresh air. On a larger scale, this could even mean going for a holiday and exploring a brand new city; numerous scientific studies have shown a strong link between travel and creativity, so now’s the time to book that ticket!
 
Get inspired
There’s no need to feel like you’re in a creative black hole, even if your business is a one-man-band; these days, there are plenty of resources out there to spark new ideas and offer fresh entrepreneurial insight. Motivational books, informative podcasts (link to podcast article), inspirational TED talks, business blogs… there’s a wealth of options all ready and waiting to help you recapture that creative mojo.
 
Brainstorm – the right way
A brainstorming session with colleagues is often held as the traditional solution for unearthing new ideas, but it might not always be as productive as you think. Research has shown that group brainstorming usually generates fewer ideas than flying solo; groups tend to converge on the same ideas, actually limiting creativity, whilst shy people frequently go unheard. Similarly, a disorganised brainstorming session can end up resulting in a time-consuming mess of disjointed voices and distractions from the subject at hand. Instead, encourage colleagues to think about the task independently first, then pool everyone’s ideas together – allowing them to be assessed, developed and refined methodically in a collaborative setting that truly harnesses the power of a good brainstorm.
 
Make time to be creative
Meetings, events, emails, Candy Crush… whatever the cause, 21st century schedules seem more packed than ever before – and it’s unsurprising that creativity ends up taking a backseat when you’ve got dozens of items to tick off your to-do list. The answer? Schedule some time for it alongside everything else, marking off an hour or two in your calendar purely for idea generation. Get your little grey cells in even better shape by setting yourself challenges and restrictions that force your brain’s problem-solving abilities into becoming even more agile, thereby maximising your creative time to its full potential.
 
Digital detox
Procrastination these days is king – especially with social media on tap, an ever-bursting inbox and an Internet full of far too many cute cat videos to keep us occupied. When you’re struggling to focus and knuckle down on creative tasks, sometimes the best thing to do is pull the plug; go sit somewhere quiet, away from all digital distractions and let your imagination soar.
 
Get energised
“An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body,” goes the old saying – and there’s certainly some scientific truth behind the theory. A 2013 study by cognitive psychologist Professor Lorenza Colzato of Leiden University in The Netherlands found that those who exercised four times a week had greater creative abilities than those leading a more sedentary lifestyle. So if those creative juices seem to running dry, it might just be the perfect time to take an actual run instead!
 
Make mistakes
When you’re letting your imagination take full flight, it can seem like anything is possible… until you’re sent crashing back down to earth with real-world practical constraints, that is. However, don’t be afraid to think big or make mistakes in your creative brainstorming – sometimes getting the wrong ideas is exactly what we need to show us the right ones. Everyone needs to start from somewhere and having ideas that can act as a jumping-off point to be adapted, developed or even totally scrapped when better ones come along is a much better proposition than having nothing at all!