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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 March 30, 2020

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

So, what to do in free time?

Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.

Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

1. Reading Files

Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File”. Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File.

Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks), for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

2. Clear out Inbox

Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty.

If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done; but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

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3. Phone Calls

Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere.

Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

4. Make Money

This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick.

If you get 5 to 10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

5. File

No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately, so it doesn’t pile up.

But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around.

Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

6. Network

Only have 2 minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

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7. Clear out Feeds

If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

8. Goal Time

Take 10 minutes to think about your goals — personal and professional.

If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them.

Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

9. Update Finances

Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget.

Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10 to 15 minutes every now and then.

10. Brainstorm Ideas

Another favorite of mine if I just have 5 minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

11. Clear off Desk

Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk.

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Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

12. Exercise

Never have time to exercise? 10 minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2 to 3 times a day, and you’ve got a fit new you.

13. Take a Walk

This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere. Even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

14. Follow up

Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list.

When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

15. Meditate

You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5 to 10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

Take a look at this 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

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16. Research

This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts.

If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

17. Outline

Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

18. Get Prepped

Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list.

You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

19. Be Early

Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early.

Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

20. Log

If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log.

Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your 5-minute break is as good a time as any.

More Inspirations on What To Do During Free Time

Featured photo credit: Lauren Mancke via unsplash.com

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