Does the combination of hot summer days and jam-packed summer schedule (at work and at home) have you feeling a little less than inspired?
It happens to everyone, and I’ve found one of the best ways to beat a creative slump is to get intentionally creative.
Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, it is empowering, helpful and just plain fun to go find it. These 5 exercises will help you stretch your brain, rethink your surroundings and boost your creativity so you can do your best work yet.
Rethink the mundane.
“We see most things—objects, buildings, spaces, materials, technology, and systems—through the lens of habit and familiarity. We take them for granted, overlooking numerous other possibilities. Combat the mind’s tendency to assume that something can only function in a familiar way. Asking yourself “What else can I do with this?” will lead to new discoveries and ideas.” – Diana Budds for Fast Company Design
Try it! Fast Company’s article includes a fun project idea to help implement this exercise in a unique way. You can also pick up the book the article was inspired by, “How to Have Great Ideas: A Guide to Creative Thinking”, which contains 53 ways to spark creativity.
Think like a beginner.
“Look at the project you’re about to finish as if you were about to begin it. Study your marketplace and customers as if this was day one on your job. Eat your lunch and dinner as if you had never tasted those foods. Examine your home and workspace as if you were seeing them for the first time. See everything today with fresh eyes and a beginner’s mind. Record your insights.” – Sam Harrison for HOW Design
Try it! Follow Harrison’s suggestions for a day and jot down notes as he instructs. You’ll be amazed at how deliberate thinking and a refreshed perspective can boost creativity.
“Developed in the ‘60s by psychologist Ellis Paul Torrance, the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) sought to identify a creativity-oriented alternative to IQ testing. One of the most iconic elements of the TTCT was the Incomplete Figure test, a drawing challenge that’s like a game of exquisite corpse. You’re given a shape, then asked to complete the image.” – Todd Anderson for 99u
Try it! 99u has shapes you can download and print—plus some more creative exercises you might like to try. Get them here.
Try the Remote Associations Test.
“This exercise is based on forming of associative elements into new combinations. The more mutually remote the new combinations, the more creative the process or solution.
You are presented with three words and asked to find a fourth word that is related to all three. For instance, what word do you think is related to these three words: Paint, Doll, Cat?
The answer in this case is house…house paint, dollhouse, and housecat.” – Creative Thinking
Try it! The Creative Thinking website has 17 more Remote Associations Test examples to help give your brain a little workout.
Make an inspiration board.
“The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images of your intention—who you want to become or what you want to create—your awareness and passion will grow.” – Michael Michalko via Lisa Girard for Entrepreneur
Try it! Grab a stack of magazines and cut out images, words and phrases that you feel drawn to. Paste them all together on a poster board and hang it where you can be reminded of your creative goals and vision. Seeing the board will help spark creativity, and the process of creating the board is a creative one, as well.
What are your favorite ways to get out of a creative slump? Share them with us in the comments below or over on Facebook.
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