Running a business or working in any corporate organisation calls for thinking in a set pattern. Most corporates have a rigid work style that they follow, and expect their employees to toe the line. Having been hammered with the stringent set of guidelines put in place to be followed, without much scope for any deviation, it gets rather difficult for individuals in the corporate world to do the sort of activities that help tone their brain's innovation muscles. Moreover, they are bound by time restrictions given the extensive personal and professional responsibilities, which leaves little to no time to indulge in anything that goes beyond the scope of their day to day routine.
When you say creativity, people usually think of just certain number of jobs that call for a creative bend of mind. The whole purpose of creativity is to go beyond the status quo, and do more than the listed down roles. So, irrespective of what profession or role one is in, everybody could benefit from some creative thinking in their work, as creativity breeds originality. From an artist who takes up their brush literally bringing creativity to life on their canvas, to a corporate manager who hashes out ideas in the boardroom, which alludes to the creative realm to some extent, every organisation benefits from having their employees perform at their creative best.
When employees get their creative juices flowing, they conjure up the most innovative and effective strategies for their clients. What client wouldn't welcome an innovative and creative solution to their problem? For this you need to ensure your employees are always on par creatively. With looming deadlines and the fast-paced life of the corporate world, employees could experience a devastating creative block.
Everybody has experienced creative highs and lows at different periods. There are times when the creative juices seem to flow smoothly, and then there are times when it just seems to come in slow waves, or worse, doesn't come at all. If you find yourself stuck in the creative lanes the next time around, here are 15 best tips to get those juices flowing again.
Sometimes all your brain needs is a change in your surroundings. According to research, a 20 minute stroll outdoors clears your head and boosts your chances of coming up with fresh ideas. Most of the productive ideas come when they are not being forced from behind the office cubicles. Just like for some the best ideas come when they are in the shower, a change in scenario where you are not consciously thinking of how to pull a rabbit out of the hat. The less you force creativity, the more easily it flows. And, creativity needs a peaceful home to roost. So, step out from behind your corporate desk, and stretch your legs every now and then for the best solutions to hit you.
It is not every day you get brainwaves. So, when one of those lucky waves hit you, and you are stocked up with creative solutions, jot them down immediately. From your low-tech pen and paper to the high-tech phones, pads, and computers, give your collective ideas a place to live. You may not need all the ideas right at that moment or for the task at hand. So, you could always save the others for the “rainy day” situations. On days when you hit the creative block or stumble to come up with an idea for a problem, you know where to look for them.
Interacting with other people is a great way to pick up on some creative gems. And, better still if the interaction happens in a casual, low stress setting, where the brain is in a relaxed state. Though happy hours might seem like a trivial part of the office culture, they could be a great source of stimulating creative ideas among the employees. According to a Harvard based study, sharing information about yourself fires up the pleasure centres of the brain, which in turn stimulates more brain activity. When there is sharing of knowledge in casual settings, original ideas and content start to formulate.
A creative block could occur if you have been stuck with one project for long. This eventually wears your mind out, and you reach a creative dead end pretty soon. At this point, some sort of distraction can work wonders to pull you out of your low spell of motivation. And, when you are done with it, you could get back to the project you were stuck on with a new mindset and renewed enthusiasm.
How you start your day has a great impact on how productive the rest of your day goes. Maybe a switch in your morning routine is what you might need to get your mental juices flowing. Try to incorporate an activity that you enjoy doing in your morning routine or part of your daily schedule. This will relax you and your brain, which means it is capable of functioning better through the day. Instead of getting up in the morning and heading straight to your laptop, try to indulge in something else which may lead you to have bursts of creative ideas through the day.
Creativity is not always about being completely original. Sometimes, it is all about putting a different spin on what has already been done. If you keep rejecting every idea for lacking true originality, you will never get anywhere. In today's explosion of information and ideas, it is highly likely that you might come up with an idea that has already been thought of and executed. In such cases, true creativity lies in how you take the done-to-death ideas and breathe your personality into it.
The corporate world is all about following and abiding by a set pattern of rules. Creativity gets completely lost in such set boundaries. To encourage creativity, you need to set some weird rules. Creativity rarely follows set patterns of working. It is all about breaking the boundaries of familiarities, like rewarding failures, but punishing inaction. Creativity strives among healthy conflict. It seeks ideas and thoughts from other stimulating minds. Creativity is spurred on when you attempt to think contrary to what the rulebook says or what you hear. Don't hesitate to mix things up to get innovative ideas.
Creativity never gels with a burnt out mind. Nobody can be on a creative spree 100% of the time. So, if you experience a creative block, you could consider switching off completely. Many creative people take long creative sabbaticals to recharge their juices and rejuvenate their energy levels. A long creative break might not be the ideal option for everybody, you could take a nap, take a stroll, or indulge in any other activity that you find enjoyable. This gives you a chance to be inspired by anything around you.
Adequate sleep is one of the major requirements for your good health. But, it is equally important for your creative juices, too. According to one researcher from Harvard, if you sleep on new ideas, you stand a good chance to make connections between distantly related points. Lack of sleep impacts your ability to think and process, which in turn completely obstructs your chances of coming up with any innovative solutions. Sometimes, when a person is on a winning streak, they tend to burn the midnight oil way too often. In the process they forget that for the streak to continue, their brain needs quality sleep. Usually when you are stuck in a conundrum, contrary to what you feel, you are more likely to come up with a solution after you have slept on it.
Working in a corporate world is akin to being confined within strict boundaries. However, a creative brain stands in stark contrast to it. It needs a lot of flexibility for the creative juices to flow. Flexible thinkers have the ability to control the flow and direction of their thoughts. This gives them the ability to adjust to a novel way of thinking. They can then apply this novel and innovative way of thinking to the situation at hand for more effective solutions.
Being creative is all about pushing your limits. It is about steering away from the tried and tested routines. This definitely calls for challenging oneself, which involves pushing the boundaries you are familiar with. The creative path that takes you to the final solution is dotted with challenges. And, not shying away from standing up to those challenges is what will keep your creative juices going. This engages the process of finding a solution to the problem, which then makes more room for creativity.
Physical activity releases endorphins in the body. When the bloodstream receives endorphins, it makes the person feel better and more energised. This is also known to boost creativity in individuals. In fact, it is known to boost almost every cognitive dimension, which works completely in favour of stimulating your creative juices. Moreover, a change of scenery is always a brilliant idea to get a burst of creativity. If you are not the one for rigorous exercise, you could also try meditating or some other form of physical activity that relaxes you.
Brain games are the perfect medicine for getting the creative juices flowing. Brain games are designed with the sole purpose of exercising your mental skills. It teaches you to look at a problem from diverse angles, thus, opening your mind to new approaches and ideas. Reading books or magazines also opens up your mind to new ideas. This boosts your creativity, and also forces you to look at the project or task at hand from different angles and bring diverse school of thoughts to the table. This eventually enables you to come up with unique solutions.
Sometimes the best ideas are born in a group setting. Discussing the problem with other individuals brings tons of ideas and options to the table. And, if the people in the group are faced with similar problem, it makes perfect sense to get together and toss out few ideas. Every individual brings their unique perspective to the whole situation. And, you might even be surprised sometimes at how quickly a solution is reached. So, next time you get stuck in a conundrum, gather your colleagues for a brainstorming round.
There is the wildly popular statement of “thinking outside the box” which runs around in the creative circles. Thinking outside the box calls for thinking completely different from the norm. However, it is not a definitive rule that is applicable to all situations. Some scenarios call for getting in the box and building on what is already in there. Finding what is useful and pertinent to the problem at hand from inside the box, and giving it a unique twist is also a huge part of being creative. So, get inside the box, and find new ways to use the existing ideas.
Creativity is as unique as the individual. Everyone has their own style for fostering their creative juices. So, find what works for you, and use it to keep your creative muscles working constantly. Creativity is a talent, which needs to be honed and kept sharpened all the time. It is something that will stand you in good stead in every area of your life, and innovative solutions are one of the most sought after skill in any sphere.
So, get cracking now to revive your creativity out of its slump and start churning more of it!