We all, every once in a while, encounter short term memory loss. Trying to recall a name or situation can be annoying but not half as bad as trying to find the words for an important e-mail or a simple solution to an issue when ones creativity level has sunk to an all time low?
This week I could not find inspiration for my blog, I thought it would be the first time ever that I simply drew a blank. I had some ideas in a ‘suggestions for blogs’ folder but none of them spoke to me as being any good. In short I was burned out of inspiration. It was then that I remembered that I had to give a lecture in Munich next week on Innovation and creativity, I am expected to show a group of managers how they can ensure that their workplaces stimulate creativity! So I ran through my lecture notes to see if I could apply any of them for myself, in short, here are my findings:
When creativity is lacking:
Firstly: Take a short break. Walk away, do not think or focus on the issue at hand. Even a few minutes of peace and quiet can make a big difference. Eyes closed, slow deep breaths (a kind of brain ‘reset’)
Secondly: Engage in thought provoking activity such as:
· Study a painting in detail (can be the one in your office or in a hallway that you never take the time to notice)
· Listen to a short story or play (BBC radio 4 via the internet)
· Listen to a piece of music that you have not heard for a while (preferably quite long 20-30 minutes)
· Read a paragraph of a stimulating book, short stories are very good for this
· Take a walk outside of 15 minutes or more
· Sleep (30 minutes in the day can work wonders) especially if you have young children keeping you awake at night
Thirdly: Come back to the problem and try again, apply more discipline, possibly involve others to help you get started.
Self discipline is very important because it forces us to focus our minds. Some of the greatest pieces of music ever written followed strict rules and patterns and were often written to very demanding timelines.
The next time you are struck short of inspiration try one (or some) of the steps above and you will find it always works. If your company loses one hour of your working day, only to have you back in a more creative mood, finding solutions to the issues in front of you, it will be a very fair exchange.
We are not machines. As thought leaders and managers our brains need stimulating in order to awaken our creative nature and stay productive.
Have a good week