Given a vast online inventory of inspiration and ideas, you’d expect it’s easier these days to think creatively. From as highly addictive as pinning boards on Pinterest to as elaborate as remaking Tiktok hit content, there seems to be a surplus of creativity anywhere you look.
However, that’s not always the case. I, for one, still struggle whenever my creative juices drip down to a standstill due to burnout and occasional mind freeze. But since you’ve come to my site with high hopes of sparking your creative neurons, I’ve made a list of hacks to make you think more creatively, whether in your academic, artistic, or professional pursuits.
In today’s article, you’ll discover:
- Basic principles of creativity that will help you set your expectations
- Ways to be more creative at problem-solving
- Hacks for building the habit of thinking more creatively
- Fun one-offs that will induce your creative juices
Basic Principles of Creativity to Avoid Burnout
One common mistake that many people do is exhaust all their energy on their work, academics, and hobbies to a point of getting burned out. More often than not, they are the ones who used to have oozing amounts of creativity at the onset and gradually lost it halfway.
But here’s the good news: there are remedies for creative burnout. You’ll only need to realize a few things first to help you meet your expectations about yourself regarding your output and thought processes.
1. Creativity is a state of being that happens naturally.
Every human has a decent amount of creativity genetically wired into their being that only needs to be tapped. It’s a natural order of things to use imagination and come up with smart ideas and solutions to everyday challenges.
What does this mean for you? It’s to remind you that creativity is not something you force into existence. It’s actually there inside your head, waiting to be fully cultivated.
2. Creativity is not an action word; it’s how you approach things and ideas.
Many people confuse creativity with the verb creation when, in reality, they are two sides of the same coin. To clarify, creativity is the way you see things that makes you act upon your ideas to bring them into the world.
3. Creativity is a form of energy that can be increased, magnified, and managed.
Like I’ve said earlier, creativity needs fuel to keep it running. One day you’re looking for a solution to your productivity issues, then bam! You hit the jackpot with a creative bullet journal spread that uses your own efficient language.
So you see, the fuel here is the desire to change and be innovative. That’s one thing about creativity; it can be triggered, reinforced, and controlled.
4. Creativity is always at your disposal.
You don’t need a muse to think creatively. Although creativity cannot be forced into existence, you can always pull out some from your metaphorical vault. Maybe it will only need a few brush-ups, but it’s otherwise a creative attempt when put out into the open.
5. Creativity is inspired by awareness, change, necessity, and curiosity.
In a study conducted among office employees, it has been revealed that high task variety leads to innovative work ideas 1. The fact that change is inevitable and that necessity is the mother of invention inspires people to get creative with their solutions for everyday life.
6. Creativity isn’t about being perfect or achieving perfection.
Forget perfection. Creativity thrives best in the presence of flaws and occasional mistakes. You won’t always be perfect, but at least it makes your output or ideas human.
50 Ways to Think More Creatively Every Day
Now that we have discussed the important aspects of creativity that help keep burnout at bay, it’s time to round up the 50 best hacks to stay and be more creative in your thinking and everyday activities.
- Take a social media detox. Like, seriously, leave the metaverse every once in a while and tune in to your mindfulness practice.
- Take “the road less traveled” literally. Just make sure you’re safe walking a path different from your usual route.
- Explore the hidden corners of your neighborhood and see what new discoveries you can find.
- Rethink the ways you commonly use an object.
- Take a pick from the thesaurus and use the word in your speech and writing for a day.
- Try new musical genres. If you’re into country songs, try listening to jazz and classical for a change.
- Sketch your surroundings wherever you go using a small sketchpad and a charcoal pencil.
- Do one routine differently for a day.
- See a highly-acclaimed film and compare it with the least reviewed titles.
- Try reading a new book genre.
- Take new art classes.
- Capture random videos of things and events and compile them into a one-minute reel.
- Translate a classic poem into your own interpretation of its language and figurative speech.
- Name one object for every alphabet you assign yourself every day.
- Deconstruct your favorite fiction and analyze the changes.
- Read more old paperbacks instead of newly-released ebooks.
- Journal your dreams every waking hour.
- Doodle your way to mindfulness every day.
- Recreate your loved one’s jealously-guarded recipe and see their reactions.
- Place a notebook under your pillow for early-dawn lightbulb moments.
- Take a hike in the mountains and commune with nature.
- Do a spring cleaning. Creativity is best stimulated with a clean slate.
- Wake up an hour earlier than your alarm clock.
- Use your bullet journal and write timed prompts with the aid of a Pomodoro timer.
- Visit the local playground and relive your childhood years for a day.
- Bring a watercolor with you and try to create a color scheme based on people’s outfits.
- Use a different art medium other than your go-to tools.
- Visit a local temple and take in the serene visuals.
- Check out art installations of up-and-coming artists.
- Check out a library in an unfamiliar community.
- Backpack to a nearby town or country.
- Redecorate your living room.
- Consider building a mancave or a she-shed when home space allows.
- Color coordinate your outfits on some days.
- Practice the art of mind-mapping.
- Take short naps in between work or study. You’re not a machine.
- Consider living in a different city or neighborhood.
- Go and allow yourself to daydream at a specific hour each day.
- Compose a different song from your favorite tunes.
- Always read the magazines at every establishment you visit while waiting.
- Make a habit out of people watching in a busy street.
- Think of a different way to troubleshoot a work or study issue.
- Ditch the bouquets. Buy your own fresh flowers and arrange them yourself.
- Acquaint yourself with your town’s rich history.
- Try adding your own twist to open-ended stories.
- Enroll in a course that is distantly related to your curriculum.
- Visit a local beach at sunset.
- Take your tablet with you and digitalize the usual sceneries you pass by.
- Play the “what if” game. (Warning: Don’t try uncovering past regrets and fears of the future. The game is meant to test your problem-solving skills)
- Conquer one of your fears for a month and see where it takes you.
To think more creatively, you need to put in the effort to keep your imagination running wild and free. In this article, you have learned the principles of creativity and a chock-full of hacks to keep a creative mindset consistently.
Do you have more creativity-inducing tips to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
- Koch, A. & Adler, M. 2018. Emotional exhaustion and innovation in the workplace—a longitudinal study