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Ideas to get you out of a creative rut

From the Resene Trade blog

Now you might be thinking, my job is a painter or decorator and I'm applying the paint and colour the customer requested – why do I need to be creative?

Creativity can help in all sorts of ways, big and small. It might be the answer to fixing a problem on one of your projects, it may be a new idea for attracting new business or even just the way you want to lay out your web page and the signwriting for your van. Even though for some of these you may hire a professional to help, you'll get a better result if you're clear on what you are trying to achieve.

Creative ruts can come very easily, but can be extremely difficult to get out of. Instead of twiddling your thumbs waiting for inspiration to hit, try these ideas…

“You can look anywhere and find inspiration”

These famous words were once said by famous Canadian architect Frank Gehry – and we couldn't agree more. If you're struggling to think of new ideas to inspire yourself and your clients, stop looking in the same places and broaden your horizons.

Take a walk or drive and really look at all the things you pass by – the buildings, the advertisements, the people. Focus on the details. Spend time online browsing sites and social media. Start a file of ideas so that when you need an idea you're not starting cold each time. If you do this regularly you'll start to see the sorts of ideas you are drawn to and perhaps you could use this to inspire something for your own business.

Don't force it

There may be times when it feels like you've sat for an eternity waiting for inspiration or the answer to strike. Sometimes it pays to get up and walk away – or run. Taking a break from your thoughts for a while is a great way to recharge your creative batteries and come back with a fresh mind. Going for a run, walk or engaging in another activity can distract you from the problem at hand. Often by the time you have finished the other activity, you'll have just the right answer in mind.

Declutter your mind

Experts estimate that the average human mind creates around 70,000 thoughts per day. No wonder it's easy to become overwhelmed and distracted when your mind is full of other ‘to-dos'. This can prevent you from focusing on the priority at hand, and when there's more thinking involved, coming to a decision can seem impossible. If you've got too much going on at once, take a step back and get all your thoughts out.

Make a list of everything you're thinking about and start prioritising your tasks. Seeing what you need to tackle and when should help relieve some of the stress. Pen and paper is fine for this or if you create it electronically you can juggle the order around if you need to.

Seek help from the experts

If you need help, ask for it. A little expert help at the right time might be all you need.

Store your ideas

Yes, there may be days when you're struggling for ideas and solutions, but there will be others when the ideas and answers won't stop flowing. Make the most of those times and store them in a safe place. Pop them in your phone notes or in an old-fashioned notebook dedicated to ideas – future you will be very glad current you took the time to do this!

Often after a problem situation has been resolved, you then think of a better way to solve it. Hindsight is great like that. Rather than regret you didn't think of it earlier, jot down the better solution with your notes as a handy headstart for next time. Then if the same situation happens again you'll be much closer to resolving it. You may even be able to use your new idea to adjust your process and avoid a problem in future.

Ask others!

While friends, families, colleagues and employees may not necessarily be experts, good ideas can come from anywhere. Don't be afraid to ask for, and reward, good ideas.

August 2019

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