Writer’s’ block. Lack of inspiration. Getting stuck in a rut. Everybody comes across these phenomena at some point. Here are 5 surprising ways to get back on track any time and boost your creativity.
1) Go to a Cafe
It turns out that ambient noises- like the buzz you hear in a cafe, are great for boosting creativity. In fact, they work even better than silence. According to a study by Oxford University, being surrounded by moderate ambient noise helps people process difficulties better and think more abstractly than when in silence.
2) Restrict yourself
Giving yourself guidelines for your work can boost your creativity by ruling out many creative routes you could otherwise go down. It also forces you to work outside of your comfort zone. One of the best examples of this is when Dr. Seuss was challenged by his editor to write a book using less than 50 words. The famous children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham” was the result.
3) Create When Tired
Research has shown that we’re at our creative best during our non-optimal times of day. This means that if you’re a night owl, you’re probably most creative in the morning or afternoon. And if you’re a morning lark, the afternoon or night is probably your best time for creativity. This is because a tired brain has trouble filtering out distractions and focusing on one thing. It tends to get more distracted and wander to random thoughts- something great for creativity and thinking outside the box.
4) Pretend it’s Far Away
Creating psychological distance from your task could boost your creativity. People in this study for example solved twice as many insight problems needing creative answers when they pretended their sources were geographically far away. Like when giving advice to a friend on their relationship, it’s a lot easier to see the bigger picture when you’re not emotionally or personally involved.
5) Have a Nap
It turns out that sleeping on your creative problems can actually help! A study published in Nature showed that people who slept after being trained on a task were better at identifying underlying patterns in the task, making their work easier and more productive, compared to those who didn’t sleep. The researchers thus concluded that sleep both consolidates recent memories and helps process new information into new ideas.