If you've ever felt like everything has already been done you know it's miserable to be blocked creatively. It doesn't have to be this way. Here are several tactics you can use to get into a zone of flow.
1. Get off the internet.
Wasting time online is possibly the number one way which people procrastinate when they're feeling uninspired to create good work. Put down your phone, move away from your laptop and think about what else you could be doing which is productive and constructive.
2. Make a list of 50 things.
Doing this all by yourself gives you absolute freedom to generate as many stupid ideas as it takes to come up with one good one. Fear of judgement from outside parties is what makes group brainstorming a waste of time.
3. Ask a stranger for an opinion.
Starting a conversation with someone you don't know is a great way to get a fresh perspective on a problem. To break the ice, begin with "This might be a weird question, but..."
4. Immerse yourself in a culture different from your own.
Researchers have found that people who travel are more open-minded and creative. It's because being exposed to new sights, sounds, smells and food ignites different synapses in your brain and increases "cognitive flexibility."
5. Exercise somewhere new.
For me, it means running a different route than the one I normally take. If yoga is your go-to daily workout routine, find a new studio with different students and teachers. Or if you don't typically swim now is the time to do so. Seeing, smelling, hearing and touching different things will activate regions of your brain which may not normally be firing.
6. Take an improvisation class.
It will teach you how to be comfortable with uncertainty and think on your feet. Coming up with new material is a habit you'll get used to.
7. Spend some time people watching.
Study the appearance and behaviors of the strangers in the coffee shop, gym or other public place. Imagine how the people around you would solve your problem or deal with your challenges.
8. Get some advice from someone who's smart.
Think of the most business-savvy or wisest person you know. Invite this person to coffee or lunch and ask them good questions relative to whatever you're working on.
9. Take a shower.
Researchers have found a cold shower positively affects brain function, decreasing tension and fatigue while improving mood and memory. If you're unwilling to suffer such discomfort know that a warm shower will work, too. One study found that nearly three-quarters of people get good ideas in the shower as a result from being alone and relaxed.
10. Make mindfulness meditation a daily habit.
It's a practice widely used by successful people and researchers have found that 10 to 12 minutes are sufficient for increasing creativity. To do it, get comfortable somewhere quiet, close your eyes and note your thoughts without judging them. Shift attention to your sensations and focus on your breathing. When you get distracted, just pull your awareness back to your breathing. Need help getting started? The Headspace app is a great tool for meditating.
11. Take a nap.
Your brain has a way of subconsciously sorting out problems and making new connections when you're asleep. In fact, researchers have found that sleeping is necessary for learning and creativity. One study asked participants to solve a puzzle (but not told there was a shortcut for doing so) and then given an eight-hour break before trying again. Those who slept during their break were twice as likely as those who didn't to find the shortcut.