creativityThis is a bit of a departure for me – I usually write about  interactions between people, not creativity -but sometimes we need give ourselves a bit of a talking to; we get stale, stuck or just need to find a fresh approach.

I love running courses on creativity and generating ideas, especially seeing participants explore new ways of thinking. I wrote this  in response to something I read about ideas to promote creativity, and wanted to add my own thoughts. Then I decided to take my own advice and play with it – it’s still a work in progress, but it was fun to do. Enjoy!*This was later developed into a slideshare: 28 ways to shift your brain.

The text is reproduced below the graphic.

33 Ways to Grow Your Creativity

Seek opinions from people who are not like you.

Do things in a different order.

Question the things you do routinely.Do you really still need to do them?

Use coloured and different fonts to reflect your mood on your own notes

Feed all your senses: Smells can evoke memories and emotions. Herbs, lavender, spices… allow yourself to savour the aroma

Use your eyes to stimulate your brain. Look at art and try to work out what drove the artist

Listen to different music. If you don’t get it, discuss it with someone who does.

Listen to TED talks on subjects outside your usual range

Know your own comfort zones and work out how to stretch them

Notice nature, close up.

Use spidergrams  and brainstorming to get your thoughts down

Don’t judge your ideas until you’ve generated as many as you can.

Stretch your creative muscles regularly by playing games like ‘what else could you do with this object?’ Or making up stories to stretch your imagination – preferably with others, because other people’s minds are fascinating and different from yours.

Cook something different, using new ingredients.

Make a Vision Board to remind yourself of the things that inspire you.

Always generate a few options before making a decision.

Don’t always take the safe option. Seek out all manner of new experiences, even if it’s only using a different shop.

Learn to name your emotions as accurately as you can, then explore why you are feeling them – this can help find the blockages.

If you are writing or painting, don’t stop when you reach the end of the chapter or section – this means you will be faced with a blank page or canvas when you return. Start on the next part, even if it is minimal – it will make it easier to return to it. Also, if you get writer’s block, or hit a section you can’t put into words, write a bit of drivel, put the font into a different colour, then carry on regardless.  When the words come to you, go back and fill the gaps.

Learn about personality traits. (E.g the Big Five). Once you understand your own traits, you can stretch yourself by thinking about how people with the opposite traits to you would handle your issues.

Identify music that lifts your spirit and play it.

Take 5 minutes to be silent and still in a busy day to allow your thoughts to organise themselves.

Shift your butt. Exercise gets everything moving, including thinking and ideas.

If you are stuck, clarify the problem as far as you can, then park it. Go and do something else. Your subconscious will work on it.

Remember the radiators and drains. If you are spending more time with people who drain you than people who build you up and inspire you, shift the balance.

Allow flexibility in your schedule so that  you can do things when you are in the mood.

Don’t flog a dead horse. If you are struggling with a task, take a break to feed your body, mind or spirit. You’ll achieve more in the long run.

Allow your inner child out to play. Children don’t have the self imposed restrictions that we have. Remember how to have silly fun. Ask the advice of a 4 year old.

Everything is a work in progress. If you expect to be perfect, you will constantly be labelling yourself a failure. That’s not healthy.

Critically evaluate your work, learn the lessons taught objectively without giving yourself a hard time. If you can’t evaluate your work, you need someone who can help you see it through fresh eyes.

© 2013

If your people need to learn to stretch their creative muscles, do get in touch. o845 5197 571 (local rate)

By Julie Cooper

Author of Face to Face in the Workplace

“If you deal with people you need this book” Buy your copy  here


By | 2020-03-09T17:15:39+01:00 January 7th, 2013|People Tips|9 Comments

About the Author:

I am trainer, coach and author specialising in one to one skills.


  1. julie 13/10/2014 at 09:33

    Glad you enjoyed it Gregory! Anything specific you liked about it?

  2. Gregory Smith 13/10/2014 at 03:37

    I love your blog

    I have read this article and enjoyed it

  3. […] I love running courses on creativity and generating ideas. I wrote this in response to something I read online about and wanted to add my own thoughts.  […]

  4. […] I love running courses on creativity and generating ideas. I wrote this in response to something I read online about and wanted to add my own thoughts.  […]

  5. […] I love running courses on creativity and generating ideas. I wrote this in response to something I read online about and wanted to add my own thoughts.  […]

  6. julie 21/01/2013 at 14:50

    Thanks Sharon! It looks like I need to go play with words and colours more often…

  7. Sharon Gaskin 21/01/2013 at 14:34

    Hi Julie, What a great collection of thoughts and ideas, we all need to be reminded of stuff like this to enable us to feel positive, motivated and energised every day! Love the format too, would love to see it as a series of posters too, would also work well with an email or video series

  8. julie 07/01/2013 at 21:43

    Thanks Lisa! I’d love to play with the formatting some more and do different topics…I’m going to need to live to an awfully old age to do all I want to do…. 😉

  9. Lisa Cherry 07/01/2013 at 21:25

    I love this! You could make this into a series of posters or infographics and share share share….some lovely statements there x

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