In today’s society, it is more important than ever to stay one step ahead of the curve. How do you achieve that? Creativity and imagination are at the forefront for every successful business. These tools are important in generating innovative ideas, increasing productivity, and enabling stronger, happier employees. But, when you’re stuck in a business rut, how do you inspire creativity?
First, you shouldn’t wait for inspiration to come to you. Set some time aside to brainstorm, and keep going even if the ideas don’t seem good; a brilliant idea is often the result of fifty bad ones.
Ask questions to both your employees and your clients. Get feedback on what works and what doesn’t, and then respond to that need. Try not to choose the most obvious solution.
Be aware of your surroundings, and don’t be afraid to learn from others. This could mean listening to your employees more closely, or taking note of a particularly successful company with similar goals as you.
As the creative juices get flowing, make sure to set limits for yourself. Know what inventory you have and what you can expect from your team output and go from there. Setting these boundaries forces you to think more creatively with what you do have, rather than creating improbable goals for you to achieve.
Above all, know that you will make mistakes. Welcome them as you try new things, fail, and then begin again with new insights. If you set unreasonable standards for yourself and your team or worry about something being just right, you will be waiting for a long time. Mistakes allow you to learn, adjust and succeed. W
• Unplug. Undoubtedly the hardest for me to do since I carry my smartphone everywhere. My addiction has gotten worse. I have found myself checking my email, Facebook, and Twitter again, only to realize that it was only a few minutes since I last pulled up those apps. I recommend unplugging for at least 30 minutes. You can survive 30 minutes without your smartphone, right?
• Change the scenery. During a good week, I’m at my desk in my home office several hours a day. While I love my office, sitting in the same chair, staring out the same window at the same parking lot is not inspiring. Change the place you work if possible. When I take my laptop to a coffee shop, the atmosphere pumps me up. Write at your library, Panera, and, when it’s warmer, outdoors.
• Go for a walk. Or do yoga or workout. The repetition of the physical activity will help clear your mind. Not to mention the fresh air is good for you too.
• Meet a friend for lunch or coffee. Writing can be isolating work: sitting at your desk tapping away at the keys. No, talking to your friends on Facebook doesn’t count. Nor does talking to your cat. Call up the friend you keep meaning to call for weeks and set a date. Your conversation might set off some light bulbs for your next assignment.
• Take a shower (or bath). This never fails to work for me. Not only do I come out squeaky clean and refreshed, but I get some of my best ideas in the shower.
• Create in a different format. If you’re a writer, try doodling, painting or drawing. Not only do you use different muscles to do these tasks, you’ll use your brain a different way. Other creative formats: baking, cooking, dancing, building with Legos.
• Take a nap. When I’m tired, it takes more energy to think creatively. Don’t nap too long or else you’ll be groggy. A 10-20 minute nap is ideal if you want to wake up refreshed.
• Read a magazine. I love reading magazines. I usually take a bath with a stack next to me. Magazines get my creative juices running because those glossy pages are visually appealing (hello, WestCoast magazine).
Tips to Get Out of The Creativity Rut