Working can become monotonous and uninteresting sometimes – it’s inevitable. This list will help reignite creativity for entrepreneurs and startups.

1. Step away from technology

Every aspect of our life is rapidly turning digital and handwriting is becoming an obsolete skill for many people.  However, putting a pen or pencil to paper has been associated with better motor skills, memory and creativity. A couple of notable writers who don’t incorporate modern technology into their writing process include Quentin Tarantino and George R. R. Martin.

2. Exercise

Get moving. Researchers have found that regular exercise seems to be associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking, which are two of the main components involved in creative thinking.

If you think that you’re too busy to hit the gym everyday, there are plenty of other ways to stay active. Instead of driving to work, ride your bike or walk.  Instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs.  You’ll be surprised how many opportunities there are to incorporate healthy and physical activity into your everyday life.

3. Learn something new

If you’ve hit a roadblock with your work and are looking for something to reignite your creative juices, taking the time to teach yourself something new is an excellent way to re-calibrate your mindset.  There are countless online tutorials and resources that will help you become proficient in just anything you can imagine. Keep it simple and focused. For instance, you could take a 20 minute break from your work to learn as much as possible about how to use Photoshop.  

Here are a few resources to spark some other ideas:

  • SkillshareLearn creative skills in just 15 minutes a day with bite-sized lessons you can fit in anywhere.
  • YouTube – There are millions of hours worth of educational tutorials on YouTube. The “HowToBasic” channel is a great place to get started and to see what you find interesting.
  • CreativeLiveWatch high-quality creative classes for free anytime.

4. Collaborate

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

Gathering feedback and fresh perspective can be one of the most effective ways of coming up with breakthrough ideas.  Challenge your peers to give you their most honest assessment of your ideas and find ways to stimulate a productive debate. Never be afraid to ask questions.

5. Take risks

Put yourself in positions where you will most likely fail on the first few attempts. Being afraid of failure is one of the most common ways innovation is stifled.

Thomas Edison reportedly made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

6. Counterfactual thinking

Taking situations that have already occurred and exploring different, “What could have been?” scenarios has been shown to boost creativity for short periods of time.  Upward counterfactuals are thoughts as to how a situation might have turned out better, and downward counterfactuals spell out the way a situation might have turned out worse.

Here’s one to get started – “What would our society be like if Steve Jobs never invented the iPhone?”

7. Doodle!

Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution, offers her perspective on why doodling should be viewed as a creative launchpad instead of a negative distraction:

 

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to draw, check out this online generator to get started.

8. Break your Routine

Humans are creatures of habit.  Sure, it’s important to have some sort of structure within our day-to-day life, yet becoming too monotonous with our routines can become inhibitive when it comes to creativity and new ideas.  Something as simple as changing your work environment for a day can have an impact on the way you approach problems and think of new ideas.

9. Listen to music

Music is one of the greatest ways to enter “mind-wandering mode,” which can unlock creativity.  Listening to music can have a direct impact on your emotional state, so think of uplifting songs that can initiate productivity.  Try experimenting with different genres and see what kind of effect it has on your workflow. If you tend to find music distracting while you’re working, look into instrumental music that doesn’t have any vocals.

10. Rethink your daily commute

In the United States, the average travel time to work is 25.4 minutes. How can you leverage that time to become more productive and creative?  An engaging podcast can be a great companion while you are stuck in traffic.  Here’s a list of 50 educational podcasts to get you started.

11. Write A Six Word Story

Can you tell a story in six words or less? This is a great way to exercise your imagination.

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a complete story in just six words. Putting his brilliant writing ability on full display, he wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

Additional fun fact: “Green Eggs and Ham” was written on a dare that Dr. Suess couldn’t write a story using 50 words or less:

12. The Six Thinking Hats

This critical thinking technique was developed by Edward de Bono as a way to encourage comprehensive problem solving from a variety of angles.

Six-Thinking-Hats-Technique

Six distinct directions are identified and assigned a color. The six directions are:

 

  • Managing Blue – what is the subject? what are we thinking about? what is the goal? Can look at the big picture.
  • Information White – considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
  • Emotions Red – intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
  • Discernment Black – logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative. Practical, realistic.
  • Optimistic response Yellow – logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony. Sees the brighter, sunny side of situations.
  • Creativity Green – statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes. Thinks creatively, out of the box.