Five ways to boost creativity and break out of a creative rut

Creativity and creative thinking impact all aspects of life, from small ways (like thinking of something different to make for dinner for a change), to major, innovative ways (like how to change a design of a product or process to make it safer, cheaper, faster, or even all of these things). No matter what kind of work you do (whether for play or pay), you’ll likely have fallen into a bit of a creative rut at some point.

So how do you get out of it? Here are five ways that have been found to help boost creativity and break out of a creative rut.

  1. Go back to the start/retrace your steps: Writers often go back to the beginning of what they have written, or sometimes event to a separate piece of work to create a bit of distance between themselves and their current roadblock, and remind themselves how much they’ve already achieved. The same is true of lots of other types of work; if you go back to the start of your process it can remind you to check for anything you might have missed and reassure you that you’re on the right track.
  2. Do something else: this one may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re tackling a problem or project, sometimes stepping away from it is a great way to find a solution. It might feel like procrastinating (and maybe it is, just a little bit), but actually, your brain continues to solve problems subconsciously, while your conscious mind is focused on something else. The caveat is this: try to do something active (cooking, jogging, painting, a puzzle) or away from a screen (like meditation), because while watching mindless TV might be a nice break, it doesn’t allow for background problem-solving in the same way.
  3. Set a deadline: if you’ve been allowing yourself to work at your own pace without a firm deadline, this can slow your progress down and lead to procrastifection (procrastination plus perfectionism), or the art of making changes until something is ‘perfect’. Setting a deadline means you have to go ahead with what you’ve got and be more cut throat in your process.
  4. Have a nap: allow your brain (and body) to recharge by taking a nap if you feel your focus slipping. It could be a 20 minute power nap or something a bit longer –test out what works best for you.
  5. Learn something new: A creative rut or block is often caused by feeling bored or stagnant. Learning something new, whether by taking a course or watching a YouTube video on a topic unrelated to your work, can help you breakthrough your creative block. Bonus – you may discover a skill you never knew you had!

“All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.” — Julio Cortazar.

Did you find these suggestions helpful? Want to add some of your own? Contact us at [email protected] to share your ideas.

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