Creativity is like exercise. It’s not something you achieve. It’s something you have to pursue and dedicate yourself to practicing on a regular basis. Somedays it comes easy, somedays it doesn’t. There are some things that I have learned over time that help when I’m stuck…
Dedicate The Time
Sometimes You can’t rush creativity. Its not something you can slam in between meetings (at least I can’t!). Try to reserve a specific part of your day just to just think. Perhaps an hour or two. Close your eyes. Think deeply about your project or what you are trying to communicate without distractions.
Set The Mood
Make yourself a drink. Maybe a latte or some tea? Something “stronger”? Find a cozy spot to sit and put on some of your favorite music, or start listening to a different genre altogether. Play with the mix of the familiar and the new.
Go Someplace New
Take a stroll outside of the office. Sit on your porch. Walk to the park. Change up the scenery a bit to see if it helps you see things anew.
Stare At The World Around You
This one is really key. Look around your room, your neighborhood, your office. Notice what is on people’s desks, patterns on their clothes, even what accessories they are wearing. Everyday things are a great source of inspiration when you’re stuck.
Doodle & Sketch
This one is especially important for research folks. Our obsession with the standard MS Office charts ruins creativity. Force yourself to think about another way to represent the data. Draw a new shape. Think about combining questions and plotting on new axis. Try to find alternative ways to view the same old data.
It may not come easy, but if you regularly get in the habit of being creative, you'll stumble into something great eventually!