As quickly as Christmas comes around, it just as quickly disappears from view. As we start to head back to the office and reluctantly put aside the leftover turkey, getting back into the productive swing of things after a well-deserved Christmas break can sometimes feel like a challenge. Whilst over the holiday season, your biggest decision was probably deciding what film to watch next, it can be easy to feel like your creative brainpower is in need of a recharge.
Like any muscle in your body, training your brain to expand its creativity can do wonders for your imagination. As with any skill you learn, the more you practice, the better at it you become – and this also applies to our brain muscles. By dedicating time in your day to exploring your creative ideas, the easier you’ll find it becomes to come up with unique and innovative solutions.
So, if you’re feeling the struggle of getting back into the creative mindset as we head into 2020, try some of these simple techniques to lift you out of that post-Christmas slump and reignite your creative brain-power.
Now, don’t get this confused with just staring out of the window. Focused daydreaming is a creativity technique that involves researching the area or topic you want to explore in detail – and then switching off. This allows your subconscious imagination to do its work, whilst still keeping you anchored to the core topic and aware of what you want to achieve.
This leads us nicely into the power of incubation. And it’s not as difficult as it sounds. The incubation of ideas is just a fancy way of saying that you need time for your subconscious to explore and reflect upon any new knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t make the mistake of powering through your work when trying to come up with new ideas. Creative ideas can’t be forced – so it’s important that you allow yourself time to step back and switch off. This gives your brain a chance to incubate all the information and knowledge you’ve learnt that day, so that your subconscious mind can mull it over. Before you know it, those creative ideas you’ve been seeking will come floating to the surface of your mind when you least expect it.
Make sure you carve out space in your calendar to switch off. Not only does this give your brain optimal time to incubate your ideas, but taking breaks is also vital in avoiding burnout. Burnout can have a hugely detrimental effect on your health and will significantly knock you back in your work performance. Looking after your mental health is vital in ensuring you’re able to not just come up with your best ideas, but work to your best ability.
If you have the typical 9-5 office lifestyle, the chances are you come into the same office and sit at the same desk every day. Whilst creativity can strike at any time, switching up your surroundings can do wonders for your imagination. With the rise in flexible working options, there is more opportunity than ever before to break away from your desk and mix up your surroundings. Try taking your laptop into a different room to complete a particular task, or spend a couple of hours working from the office café. And if you have the option of flexible working, try working from a few different places, such as a buzzing coffee shop, or even the silence of your own living room. Experimenting with different locations will give you a good sense of where you feel most focused – and where you feel your creative senses are truly sparked.
If you find you can’t easily move away from your desk, even changing your surroundings on a minimal level can help. Try switching out some of the items on your desk, adding a new plant, or rearranging your desk space completely. Small techniques like this can help you break out of a mental hamster wheel of monotony and give your mind a different perspective.
All great ideas come from an initial spark of inspiration; though, all too often, some of those creative gems that pop into our heads disappear from memory the second we focus on a different task. No matter how small your ideas are, make sure to capture these as soon as they strike. You can always come back to revisit these ideas at a later date; some ideas may not come to anything, but others may just hold something special that you can explore in further detail.
This is where Mind Mapping is a truly powerful technique for creative thinking. Think about how your brain works – once you get that initial spark of inspiration, you’ll find it doesn’t take long for your brain to make associated ideas that can build and build like a runaway train. Mind Maps work in the same way – they just allow you to physically capture this process. Mind Mapping tools such as Ayoa allow you to begin with a central idea, and then add radiating branches for any associated ideas.
The beauty of Mind Mapping is that no idea is a bad idea. By replicating your natural thinking processes, Mind Maps are proven to boost creativity – so no matter how small your idea is, capture it with ease in a Mind Map. You can then come back and expand on your idea whenever inspiration strikes – so no idea goes to waste.
We all know that two heads are better than one – and it’s certainly no different when exploring your creative ideas. It can be easy to get stuck in your own little bubble when working on your own projects. Whilst it’s important to have this time to focus and execute your work on your own accord, your creativity will flourish when you take a moment to step back and harness the collective brainpower of your friends and colleagues to help you expand on your ideas.
When brainstorming, it’s common to find that one idea tends to spark another. By bringing in the perspectives and opinions of your team, they will be able to help take your initial ideas to the next step.
Ready to get out of the post-Christmas haze and sharpen your creative skills for the New Year? Ayoa is here to help you explore and capture your best ideas with its innovative Mind Mapping features, then turn these into tasks you can track and manage – so you can dive head-first into your most productive self. Discover more here or sign up for FREE today.
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