Creativity – 10 tips to become an idea machine

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What is one of the most important skills you should have in your arsenal? Coding? Maybe. Social skills? Also good to have. However, the answer is creativity. Like it or not, you are living in the age of makers. This world, and the future as well, belong to creative people who are able to create something from nothing. Creativity is the best fuel for world’s economy you can find … And it is inexhaustible. Here, you will find ten proven and tested tips to fire up your creative engine into speed you’ve never seen before.

Tips for hacking your creativity

Hacking or boosting … It does not matter what word do you like. It is just a semantics. All you need to know are two things. First, everyone is creative. Stop telling yourself that you are not. You are only feeding your mind with crap. Second, your creativity is not something that is fixed or cannot be changed or trained. Below are ten best tips and tricks that will help you break through any kind of creative block you might face. Enjoy the reading.

No.1: Turn off

The first tip for boosting your creativity is to simply turn off for a few minutes. Today, we are still online, connected, using some device and our brains have no chance to rest. So, the first advice is to let all your devices go and give your brain space to refresh. However, this does not mean to immediately take a book or magazine and start reading. I am talking about doing nothing. Take a look from the window or stare at the wall for couple minutes and let your mind wander. Anything like that, but not involving brain activity or focus.

No.2: Change the environment

Why just stay inside looking from the window? Get out. Go somewhere. Long walk in the park or just going through the city can do wonders to your brain and creativity. If you need more convincing, take a look at how many creative people used or are still using daily walks in the nature to allow their creativity bring new ideas. What’s more, it is scientifically proven that natural environment, or just green color, freshens up and energize your brain and body and also elevates your mood.

Another long-term experiment you can try, if you are freelancing, having a business or your boss will allow it, is to switch between different places to work. For example, one day you can work in the office, another day you can work from library or coffee shop and then finish it by working from home. To boost your creativity more, you can even implement this into your weekly schedule as a routine and swap the days from time to time to break it.

No.3: Get bored

You already know what benefits can turning off for a while can be to your creativity. To take this a step further, while you are disconnected try to challenge yourself by doing nothing for a long period of time. Seriously, your goal is to get yourself bored. Take it easy and start with two or five minutes. In this period of time, you will just sit down and immerse yourself in non-action. Another great thing to try is for unleashing your creativity is daydreaming. Even Albert Einstein used it!

In a fact, Einstein discovered his theory of relativity while daydreaming about two bolts of lightning striking the front and back of a moving train at the same instant. Did you hear about Archimedes and his naked Eureka moment? It was his imagination, or daydreaming, what helped him solve the problem with crown. How about Isaac Newton and his apple accident. Whether it is true or not, daydreaming with his relentless study of mathematics fired up his creativity.

No.4: Novel experiences

Try new things and opening yourself to novel experiences is also a great way to kick up your creativity. Just think about it. How can your brain create new ideas if you don’t feed it with new experiences and stimuli? Your brain needs new fresh data so it can connect them with what you already know and come up with something new. These data or stimuli can range from visiting new places, trying out new hobbies, reading different genre of books, listening to different genre of music and so on. Anything you didn’t try before is great.

No.5: Create routines

OK. This one might be harder to believe, but it is true. Creating routines will not low your creativity at all. It will do the exact opposite. By creating a routines in your life, you will lower the amount of decisions your brain has to make. This will result in two things. First, your brain will be less fatigued because it has to do less decisions. Second, with less decisions, the brain will have more energy and space for sparks of creativity.

The world is full of examples of people proving this fact. Steve Jobs wore a black mock turtleneck. Mark Zuckerberg wears a grey T-shirt. Einstein wore only grey suits and his hair … You know. The last example is Barrack Obama. He has only gray or blue suits in his wardrobe. You can find more people following this routine.

No.6: Have fun and relax

It is proven that anxiety has pretty bad effects on creativity and thinking in general. So, what you should do is to crash it with the most powerful, mood enhancing, drug available. Games! Involve more free thinking and joy into your life, work and environment through games. Put it simply … Forget about the seriousness of the life for a while, relax and have some fun. You can also try drawing, sketching and doodling, just keep it fun. Also, don’t forget to bring in some soothing ambient sounds as well.

No.7: Move the body

How about to bring health and creativity together to get more benefits at the same time? I’m not kidding. Regular exercise can and will boost your inner genius and help you get new insights. Research showed that people who exercised for four times a week were able to think more creatively than those who didn’t exercise. In a short … Physical exercise will train your brain and allow you to be more flexible in finding creative ways to solve problems. Why don’t you start just with a long walk. Give it a try.

No.8: Take a shower

If everything else failed and you still cannot get yourself into the right state to unleash your creativity, try the old and well tested option of taking a shower. Shower is associated with creativity and sparks of genius ideas that it could even work as a placebo. What is the magic behind the ”shower“ effect? It’s simple. Creative insights have the biggest chance to bubble to the surface when distractions around you are under control. Shower is a place that hides distractions very well.

This is the process how distractions in the shower disappear … When you turn it on, the white noise of the water will cover other sounds around you. Next, the feel of the water falling on your skin will envelop your sense of touch. Thanks to this, you will be free to focus your mind and think, conscientiously or sub-conscientiously (without you knowing about it), about the problems you want and need to solve.

Even if your creativity will remain untouched and you will not come up with new groundbreaking business idea or solution to that problem, keep in mind that shower is at least healthy and nobody ever died because of it.

No.9: Sleep on it

Another proven tip for you to unchain your creativity, and healthy as well, is to sleep on it. If you are exhausted, your brain will certainly not operate on full capacity. No matter how much will you push yourself. Pushing yourself can even have a decremental effect on your creativity. What you can do instead is to let everything go and take a big dose of sleep (no pills!). If it’s in the evening or at night, enjoy full, eight hours or more, block of sleep. Otherwise, you can try something as simple as taking a nap.

How long should the nap be? The answer will depend on what benefits are you looking for. There are couple types of naps. The shortest nap will take from two to five minutes and can help you if you are sleepy. A bit longer, five to twenty minutes long, nap will boost your motor learning, performance, energy, stamina and alertness. Twenty minute nap will also improve your muscle memory and clear up your brain from useless information which will help your long-term memory.

The last nap will take from fifty to ninety minutes. This one includes slow-wave frequencies appearing in the brain and REM phase of sleep. It will improve your perceptual processing and allow your body to repair your bones and muscles. It’s some kind of a recovery mode. However, I want to warn you. You should not exceed thirty or forty five minutes if you don’t want to be groggy and sleepy. Otherwise, your brain will switch to next phase of sleep – REM – which will take about another forty five minutes. Stay under this limit or go for whole ninety minutes to complete the REM phase and to avoid grogginess.

No.10: Train your creative muscle

The last tip is to think about your creativity as a muscle. The more you will train it, the stronger it will be and the more sparks you will experience. Like with exercising for bigger muscles, greater strength or endurance, you should train your creative muscle as well. If possible on a daily basis. Fortunately, it’s nothing hard nor complex. Pick a pen and piece of paper and try to come up with, say, ten ideas … Or twenty to challenge yourself (I do twenty on a daily basis). You can also take two things and try to think about different use for them or combining them. Do this every day and soon you will see the benefits.

Final words

No matter what you think about yourself, you are creative just like everyone else. Some people might have better conditions for getting new creative insights, but you still have the power and space to improve. Your creativity is just like a muscle. If you will train it enough and be consistent, soon you will see that it will become easier for you to generate new ideas in less time. You just need to be consistent and trust yourself.

What are your tips for boosting your creativity?

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By Alex Devero

I'm Founder/CEO of DEVERO Corporation. Entrepreneur, designer, developer. My mission and MTP is to accelerate the development of humankind through technology.

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