5 Ways to Fuel Creative Thoughts

ideas spinning

I’m an idea guy. No on has ever accused me of not having an original thought. Most of the time the opposite is more accurate. The teams I lead usually fight overload with the number of ideas I produce. I have to discipline myself to “unthink” and give teams permission to tell me “bad idea”.

But, even idea people have lulls in their creative process. We grow stagnant. Get bored. Need help spurring thought.

So, how do idea people get new and original ideas?

Here are 5 ways that work for me:

Get up and walk – If it is cold I walk inside, but outside is my preference. Several times throughout the day I take a hike. My best ideas rarely happen sitting at my desk.

Whiteboard – Diagraming or drawing my thoughts makes me think. I have one wall in my office covered  with idea paint. If thoughts get stale…I play with dry erase markers. Literally. Start writing or drawing and it leads to more ideas. Every time. (I also have several doodling apps on my iPad.)

Exercise – Whenever I’m in a lull, exercise triggers my brain. And, it’s good for my health. Sometimes a mid afternoon sweat will make the last half of the day my most productive in thought.

Hang out with creatives – Iron sharpens iron. Creatives sharpen me. I like to occasionally hang out with random thinking, highly creative types. I’m random, nut structured, so I have to pace my time with the over-the-top creatives, but they always trigger new ideas.

Different environments – Going somewhere I’ve never been always fuels me. A new city. A new park. A new restaurant. A new coffee shop. A different library. Change the space…expand the pace (of thought).

Those are a few that help me.

What triggers your creative process? 

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10 thoughts on “5 Ways to Fuel Creative Thoughts

  1. I love this. Specifically regarding your #1, #3, and #5…taking notes is key for these. I like to use the voice recorder option within Evernote. This allows me to capture thoughts easily without having to stop and type on my iphone. Then I can go back and process them later when it's more convenient.

  2. Walking around and a change in environments helps me a lot too. Similarly, long drives alone (without the radio on, and not in a traffic jam) tend to be creative times for me.

    When I have a lot going on at once – and who doesn't these days – cleaning up my to-do list helps me. I can't completely finish everything on that list, but if I can review them and move them along in their process, it frees me to think about the next thing.

    Rest is another big one for me. Operating on low sleep and high stress is a creativity killer for me. I can still be somewhat productive under those circumstances… but I've learned that for me to be at my best, especially under pressure, I need to take care of myself physically.