Niraj Ranjan Rout

Ten Ways to Enhance Your Creativity

By: Niraj Ranjan Rout | July 12, 2016 | 
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Ten Ways to Enhance Your Creativity Have you ever had one of those days where no matter how much thought you put into it, you just can’t come up with a single creative idea?

I certainly have!

Although there isn’t much scientific explanation for mental blocks, it happens to all of us.

Especially marketers, who have deadlines to meet and numbers to show, this can be very impeding.

Maybe it’s due to a lack of inspiration, or not so motivating results, or perhaps mental exhaustion.

Whatever the reason, it’s important for us to free ourselves from this mental block and get our creative juices flowing again.

Here are some tips on how to do that.

Enhance Creativity with Side Projects 

If you’re lacking ideas while working on a project, sometimes the best way to solve this problem is by pushing it out of your mind completely and focusing elsewhere.

Side projects, such as organizing the house, doing laundry, rock collecting, or any other hobby, can help you distract you, while you still remain productive.

When you’re ready to get back to your work again, you’ll feel fresh and less frustrated.

A fun side project can help uplift your mood, which helps you think better and feel more energetic.

Change Your Routine

Once in a while, doing something out of the ordinary can get your serotonin levels going, and by extension, help your brain function better.

Take your morning routine for example.

How much thought do you actually put into doing your morning routine?

Almost none, right?

This mechanical living dampens our creativity.

We slowly become creatures of habit.

This is why it’s important to switch up your routine, or do something out of the ordinary once in a while.

At my company, we have a rule for every employee, take an hour off during the work day to do something they enjoy doing.

That could be reading a book, watching a sitcom, playing loud music, or just taking the time to enjoy their lunch.

Yes, we take this seriously.

Even if it’s a ‘new-feature-release-day,’ employees have taken time to strum guitars or go for a walk.

Taking a break amps up the energy in the room and helps them get back to work with a fresh and clear head.

Here are some ideas you can try to change your routine for a day:

  • Leave your car in the garage and ride your bike to work.
  • Call an old friend and reconnect with them.
  • Do a handstand or a somersault.
  • Hold the door until everyone behind you passes through.

Take a Nap

Did you know people are 33 percent more likely to infer connections among distantly related thoughts after sleep?

Well, it’s true!

According to a Harvard study noted in this article, when you sleep on new ideas you’re more likely to see the connection between two different points and come up with solutions.

So the next time you hit a dead-end, maybe all you need is a good nap.

Listen to Uplifting Music

Listening to the right music can boost your creativity.

According to Daniel J. Levitin, a neuroscience professor at McGill University, most creativity happen when your mind is wandering and you experience a flood of random, unconnected thoughts.

Listening to music can put you in this mode and thereby, boost your creativity.

Music has the ability to shift our brain waves.

Certain songs can make us experience theta waves which can boost our ability to think creatively.

Since music has the ability to physically affect us, we experience mood shifts when we are listening to a song.

Find New Ways to Express Old Ideas

You know what’s much easier to do than coming up with a new idea?

Repurposing old ideas.

Despite what most people say, raw inspiration and creativity don’t happen often enough to consistently run a business.

Don’t focus your creative energy only on coming up with original ideas, you will exhaust yourself.

Focus on finding creative ways to express old ideas.

So let’s say you are a writer.

Are you going to try and come up with a new, unheard-of topic to write about every week?

How long can you keep that up?

Instead, take an old and obvious idea and express it in your style, adding your own perspectives.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. – Steve Jobs

Cross Your Ts And Dot Your Is

Your book is due next month, you’ve only finished half of it, and you’re stuck.

You can’t seem to type even a single line.

What now?

Well, did you know that paying attention to details can help with creativity?

So instead of pushing yourself to work on the other half of the book, proofread everything you have written so far.

Pay attention to details while doing so and you will become more mindful and present in the now.

When you become more present, you’ll shift your focus from the frustration of not being able to create, and focus on the book instead.

In turn, this will help your brain function better.

Mess Up Your Work Space

A messy workspace helps with creativity, while an organized workspace helps you be more productive.

According to study researcher Kathleen Vos, a psychological scientist, and marketing professor at the University of Minnesota:

Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries, and societies want more of—creativity.

So the next time you’re in a rut, instead of cleaning out your desk, let the clutter collect!

Work in a Cafe

According to this study in The Atlantic, a moderate noise level of 70 decibels (approx. equal to the noise level at a cafe) can actually fire up your creativity

Based on this theory, an app called Coffitivity was developed.

The app transfers the ambient noises of a cafe to your desktop, helping to spur your creativity.

It may turn out a cafe is a better option than a library for creativity.

Fire Up Your Laptop and Research Your Topic

When you are stuck for topics, don’t feel frustrated about it.

Instead, surf the web.

For example, if you are a blogger and are struggling to write your next post, just research and read something in the general ballpark of your chosen topic.

When you start reading about relevant topics and thoughts, it will automatically trigger your thinking process.

You’ll come across one idea and be able to generate several other similar ideas.

This can help turn those wheels in your head and get you on track.

Use Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage the emotions of oneself and of others.

Many times, we have mental blocks, not because someone switched off the creative part of our brain, but because of some underlying problem.

Using your EQ to understand what the real problem is can help you get your swag back.

Is it lack of confidence, fear of failure, feeling of rejection at work, or something else?

There may be a number of problems which induce stress and hinder your thinking process.

Find the problem and solve it!

image credit: shutterstock

About Niraj Ranjan Rout


Niraj is the founder of Hiver, an app that lets the user share Gmail labels with other Gmail users. Niraj works on programming, customer support and sales. He also contributes to design and UI. He is a fusion music aficionado, and loves to play the guitar when he can.

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