By: Amanda Berzins

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  1. Keep your desk cluttered: Albert Einstein said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk a sign?” Studies have shown that those with a cluttered desk space are more creative and innovative. For example, if an assignment for work involved following rules and not taking chances, then having a clean, tidy environment would be helpful to reach that goal. But, if your assignment involved creativity and coming up with a bold and new idea, then messing up your environment would help with that.
  2. Grabs crayons and start drawing: it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw; doodling is just fine. Drawing is shown to be a “thinking tool” that helps improve your focus, retain information, and grasp new concepts.
  3. Creating a recipe with 5 ingredients: less is more, make the most of your kitchen scraps and get creative with the food you have in your fridge. For example, use leftover to make a soup or save bread scraps for future baked goods.
  4. Take a walk: a brief walk, even around your office, helps with mental blocks and gets the creative juices flowing. Walking opens up your mind to free flow of ideas and it may be just the thing to bring the missing piece to your puzzle.
  5. Look at life through the eyes of a child: children have a different perspective on the world. Take a minute and look at the world through the eyes of a child. Every day is exciting, with new surprises and discoveries, full of joy and fun. Sometimes when you’re in a creative rut, think back to the days when all you had to worry about was what page from the coloring book you were going to draw.
  6. Limit entertainment: while being amused can be good in small amounts, overdoing it can be damaging to your creativity. Use things like Netflix and YouTube videos to expand your imagination, not replace it. TV requires little creativity and thought because it does the imagining for you. Instead use books, articles, art, or songs as a form of entertainment- it forces you to create your own imagination.
  7. Talk to a stranger: strangers are people who you don’t know, but know different things than you know. They come from different universities, families, and disciplines. It might take a bit more energy to talk to a stranger, but the willingness to listen to ideas and opinions of someone different than yours is a key component of our creative process.
  8. Write a 500 word article with no topic in mind: no headline, no topic, no structure, just let your mind decide what words to write and let your fingers type away. You will probably end up with something that doesn’t make sense and is crazy and weird, but it is guaranteed to give you a boost of creative energy.
  9. Rearrange your furniture: an impact on your environment lifts mood and leaves you feeling satisfied, clever, creative and resourceful. Rearranging is an opportunity for being artistic as well identifying what you truly love, want, or need.
  10. Work at a coffee shop: a study shows that the best ideas are generated with various levels of background noise. Moderate noise levels help you think abstractly and outside the box, while extreme quiet is good for assignments that require sharp focus. Next time you need to do some serious brainstorming, go to Starbucks.
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