14 More Ways to Increase Creativity and Generate Clever Ideas

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The last post was fun to write, so without further ado about nothing, let’s continue the list. Here we go with 14 more ways to generate ideas, increase creativity, cure cancer, end all wars…you get the idea.

17. Travel Travel will give your brain a chance to go wild. New places, sights, smells, gravitational pulls, all these will give you a ton of new ideas. Remember, travel doesn’t mean going to the other side of the world. Try going to a nearby town, a place you’ve never or rarely been. Or imagine how you’d visit your town if you were a tourist.

18. Screw Off. Give yourself time just to do whatever you like. Anything. Guilt free. Just get away and have fun.

19. Try a Different Medium (or instrument) Writers drawing, painters writing, drummers singing (uh, on second thought…), all these things could be messy but useful. Creating in a different medium, especially with the understanding that it’s just for fun, makes you use different parts of your brain.

20. Just Start. Don’t worry about making something awesome. Just make something. Something is better than nothing. Nothing is  perfect the first time or the tenth time.

21. Optimize your Workspace. I just did this a few days ago by clearing a bunch of crap off desk, duct taping some wires to the back of the desk, replacing the desk lamp with a little plant, and getting rid of the dead hookers. Those small change helped motivate me to clear some old stuff of the to-do list.

22. Move Your Space. My wife hates it, but every few months I’ll move the furniture around. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least it keeps things fresh. Plus, I usually find something interesting.

23. Screw Perfection. Perfection is the worst enemy of creativity. Creativity is play, and play can never be perfect. Striving for excellence is great, but perfection is an unattainable goal, sure to kill any creativity. Internal editors and censors aren’t you’re friends in the first rounds of creating. Keep them at bay as long as possible.

24. Visualize. Whether in your mind or on paper, seeing things in pictures rather than thinking of them in words can give you a different way to look at things.

25. Abandon Stuff Sometimes activities just take up too much mental power. Focus your energies and drop low-value brain draining tasks.

26. Get Injured. When I broke my foot, I sat around the house for a month. While that wasn’t the brightest time of my life, I did get a new perspective on mobility and  health, as well as a few story ideas. Of course, intentionally injuring yourself is pretty stupid, but if you do get injured, make the most of it. Make sure you have health insurance (Seriously, don’t injure yourself. I don’t want to get sued).

27. Ignore People Some people…geez. If you listen to them long enough, you’ll believe everything awesome  has already been done, all ideas are rip-offs, and all people are shitheads. Don’t let their negativity, laziness, and failures of imagination to drag you down.

28. Meditation I’m still not 100% sold on meditation, but millions of Buddhists can’t be wrong. If nothing else, just stepping away from the mundane, closing your eyes, and doing some breathing is effective. For me, meditation is sitting on a mountaintop and listening to the wind.

29. Step Away. Adding psychological distance frees up a little of your brain, giving you a chance to examine a problem as an abstract problem rather than a concrete issue. Concrete can be tough to move. For example, why is it so easy to see the problems of others but so damn difficult to see your own? There’s no distance.

30. Work in a Different Venue Changing scenery can yield new ideas and inspiration. Our surroundings influence us more than we care to admit. Change your surroundings and you’ll change your work. For me, this means leaving my apartment and taking my notebook to the neighborhood pub. Nobody speaks English there so I get left alone, and they feed me peanuts. Maybe a pub isn’t the best place for everybody, but I always come up with stuff when I’m there.

Photo credit : josefstuefer

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