Creativity isn’t just for creatives: Part II

10 ways to get out of a rut and start soaring again

Picking up from where we left off last week, here are the second 5 of 10 ways to juice your noggin’ apart from your screens. (Inspiration will rarely come through your social media feed.) It’s time to put your phone down and unleash all those suppressed brainwaves, the ones that are dying to hear you say, “Oh my gosh, I have an idea!” 

6 – Look away

Do a hobby. Concentrate on something other than your problem or issue to kick in what I call the “backburner effect.” By not focusing on your problem or issue, you move it to the backburner; in so doing, you free your subconscious mind to roam.

Do you love fishing? Cooking? Gardening? Even deep cleaning the house? Do it. Be 100% present, in the activity, and let thoughts of Your Problem disappear. Because, trust me, it’s still there, and will find its way back to the front burner on its own. 

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been doing some painting with acrylics. Don’t put me in a gallery just yet, but I am seeing how this hobby is effective in tapping into the backburner effect. 

7 – Brain dump

To get an idea IN, you’ve got to clear up some space in there. So, set a timer for 2 mins and 45 seconds. Do a free write for the entire time. Again, use real paper, not a keyboard. Never let the pen stop moving. List everything you’re thinking and feeling about Your Problem. Nothing is off limits. Free writing releases your inner “tell me how you really feel.” If the timer goes off and you have more to say, ignore the bell. Keep writing. This activity is not just for writers. It’s for everyone.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been writing vigorously. For my job. But I really should try this activity sometime! 

8 – Study the greats

What is your job title, anyway? Has someone else excelled in a similar such role? What leader can you learn from? Study them. The surest way to block creativity is to pretend you already know all the answers. So don’t. Instead, be a learner. Read the biography. Ask the questions. Befriend your own role model.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve read “Junior: Writing Your Way Ahead in Advertising.” It’s helped me refine my writing process and get better.

9 – Go without

What’s something you do every day that isn’t necessarily bad but it isn’t necessarily helpful, either? It just is. Because it’s a habit. Try going without it for a day, or even two or three. See what happens.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve tried to give up my dessert-every-evening habit. I have not succeeded. #fail

10 – Laugh

Do whatever it takes to laugh. Really laugh, like where your belly aches and a tear or two streams down your face. Start a tickle match with your kid. Or, overrule the “screen-free” stipulations to the above suggestions and pull up a comedian’s vids or watch that show or movie. Just make sure you’re laughing — hard — by the end. Laughter shakes things up, moves pieces around, and when the dust settles, you have more room in your head to think bold, new, problem-solving thoughts.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve applied to be the president of the Trey Kennedy Fan Club. His comedy has spared me multiple trips down Pessimist Lane.

That’s it! If you still aren’t convinced you’re a creative after doing these activities, it’s okay. Label or not, you are, at the end of the day, a creative. Because you are a human.