Everyone gets stuck sometimes. Whether it’s finding the right solution, figuring out the best way to approach an issue, or determining the best strategy to sell your ideas, it just seems like no matter what you do, you’re not making progress. The next time it happens, experiment with these techniques.
Do Something Physical
When you’re brainstorming, try doing something with your hands. Juggle. Flip a pencil around between your fingers or squeeze a stress ball. Or stand up and pace. Repetitive hand or body movement stimulates the creative side of our brains.
Change Your Environment
Help your brain help you by providing visual stimulation. Go to the conference room and work there. Or go to an empty office or even outside. If those aren’t options, move to the other side of your desk so you’re exposed to a view you rarely see in your office.
Stop Trying So Hard
One of the surest ways to stifle creativity is to demand it. The more you need to be creative, the harder it will be. Instead, relax and let it flow. If you’re not feeling particularly creative, do a non-mental task. Sort through the papers on your desk, do your expense reports, or return something you borrowed. The best ideas often come to mind when you perform non-creative tasks. (Like in the shower or in rush hour traffic!)
Use Mind Mapping
Try using creative brainstorming tools to help you find unique and interesting ideas. Mind maps are simple tools. You can create them with online software or a simple pen and paper. Write your central idea or niche topic in the center of the page and create branches or spokes from the center. Each branch is a topic idea. You can then add spokes from each new idea to create further topic ideas. Essentially you’re making your thought process visual. For example, if you’re struggling to find interesting ways to launch a product and your first branch is awareness building, you might then add leveraging a celebrity, timing all promotional activities to drop on the same day, and so on.
If you’re stuck with a writing issue, instead of trying to write “content,” consider telling stories. What stories can you tell that are related to your issue? As you are telling your story, think about how it can benefit your reader. How can you help them with your information? This can often stimulate interesting hooks for your presentation or talking points.
Remember, everyone runs into these mental blocks occasionally. Be careful not to let your imagination run wild with thoughts like, “I’ll never figure this out,” “I just am no good at writing,” etc. It doesn’t mean anything, you just have a block. Try these techniques to move through them quickly so you can spend more time doing what you love.