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10 Tricks Really Creative People Use To Come Up With Great Ideas

10 Tricks Really Creative People Use To Come Up With Great Ideas

If you’ve ever struggled to come up with a great idea, you’re not alone. Coming up with great ideas regularly is absolutely essential as a creative person, though as we all know, it can be tough. Some of the greatest creative people of all time struggled with the need to come up with great ideas, but they did have a few tricks that helped. Today I’d like to share with you 10 tricks really creative people use to come up with great ideas.

1. Record your ideas & refer to them when stuck.

Recording your ideas is absolutely essential to the creative process. What starts as a simple thought now can blossom into something amazing later down the track. Record your thoughts, words, drawings and found objects in a journal or sketchbook and refer to it whenever you’re looking for a great idea. You’ll be joining the ranks of famous creative people as diverse as Tim Burton, Claude Monet and Andy Warhol, who all kept a steady stream of sketchbooks throughout their lives and referred to them regularly.

2. Take in diverse opinions.

Your creative ideas are limited by the thoughts in your own head, which have been developed uniquely through a lifetime of your own experiences. Take on the opinion and imagination of others to let in a whole new world of ideas and inspiration. Listen to what those around you have to say and take advantage of their unique perspective of the world.

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3. Make time for the big ideas.

Sometimes you can get so caught up in the day to day that in the midst of rushing from appointment to appointment, you don’t allow the big ideas to surface. Make some time to sit down, play with your materials, trawl through your sketchbooks and let the magic happen.

4. Keep abreast of news & culture.

What’s happening in the world around you can be an amazing source of inspiration. Keep abreast of the news and what is happening culturally in both your local area and the world. You never know what might spark your next big idea.

5. Work toward your big vision.

Some of the most prolific creative people of all time came up with their most amazing ideas because they were working toward a big vision that guided them every step of the way. Consider Apple, which took the world by storm with their revolutionary iPod, iMac and iPhone—all guided by the unique Apple design principles and their big vision for what technology products could mean in people’s lives

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6. Shift your attention regularly.

It’s easy to get stuck in a creative rut when you’re so intensely focused on trying to come up with your one big creative idea. Ease the pressure and shift your attention regularly to something else. Doing so will give your mind a chance to refresh, ready for your big idea to surface when you return to the task at hand.

7. Brainstorm.

Sometimes, a big brainstorming session is exactly what you need. It can be done alone or with others; simply start with your topic and write it in the middle of a big piece of paper. Around this central word write every single thing that comes to mind associated with the topic at hand. The connections you create can spark some amazing big ideas.

8. Do nothing.

It might sound counter intuitive but sometimes doing nothing is exactly what you need to do. Sit quietly and stare out the window. Go on a walk around the block. Lie on the grass and stare up at the clouds. Allowing your brain to do nothing at all leaves it free to imagine and come up with some pretty amazing ideas. Why not try it out?

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9. Channel a new voice.

You’ve been thinking in your own voice your entire life, so what if you role played to be someone else creatively for the day? Take on the imagination of Walt Disney or the genius of Albert Einstein. Apply their unique ways of thinking to what sits in front of you and see what comes out. It can be as simple as saying to yourself “What would Walt Disney do in this situation? What ideas might he have?”

10. Stick to a routine.

Having a regular routine can be the perfect way to spark some big creative ideas. Many famous creative people, including writer Stephen King, had a very set and specific daily routine which allowed his best ideas to flow. Consider developing your own daily routine to encourage the flow of great ideas.

You might also like: How to Consistently Come Up With Great Ideas

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Photo credit: Disruption by Tsahi Levent-Levi

Featured photo credit: Disruption by Tsahi Levent-Levi via flic.kr

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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