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How to Enhance Your Creative Thinking

Restrict yourself

Research suggests placing self-imposed limitations can boost creativity. 

It forces your brain to come up with creative solutions to finish a project around the parameters you’ve set.

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The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:
The 2 goals of effective brainstorming:
  • Defer judgment (don’t get upset when people say bad ideas).
  • Reach for quantity (come up with as many ideas as possible).
Obstacles to an effective brainstorming:
  • Fear of judgment from people in positions of power;
  • Extroverts take center stage;
  • Groups hate scary ideas, even it they're great ones;
Steps of the creative process
  1. Preparation: individual study to focus your mind on the problem;
  2. Incubation: the problem enters your unconscious mind and nothing appears to be happening externally;
  3. Intimation: you get a “feeling” that a solution is on the way;
  4. Illumination: your creative idea moves to conscious awareness;
  5. Verification: your idea is consciously verified, expanded upon, and then executed.
Creative Thinking Defined

Creativity is not just reserved for artistic tasks such as writing, painting or composing music.

Creative thinking is the ability to consider something – a conflict between empl...

Top Creative Thinking Skills
  • Analytical. Before thinking creatively about something, you first have to be able to understand it.
  • Open-Minded. Setting aside any assumptions or biases you may have, and look at things in a completely new way.
  • Problem Solving. Using your creativity to solve important issues.
  • Organization. Being able to structure a plan of action with clear goals and deadlines is vital.
  • Communication. Strong written and oral communication skills to communicate your solutions effectively.
Examples of Creative Thinking
Generally, anything that involves an “aha” moment is considered creative.
  • Artistic Creativity. You don't have to be an artist for your work to have an artistic element. For example: Composing a new fundraising script for volunteers or devising a lesson plan that will engage students.
  • Creative Problem-Solving. For example: Coming up with new procedures to improve quality or suggesting a way to improve customer service.
  • Creativity in STEM. For example: Constructing a research model to test a hypothesis or devising a computer program to automate a billing process.
Listening To Music While Working
Listening To Music While Working

While monotonous work like making a report is tolerable with your favorite music playing in the background, any kind of creative work can be significantly impaired if it is accompanied by music.

Creativity: The Incubation Period

After a problem has been examined and analysed, creative thinkers often hit a roadblock, which is actually an ‘incubation period’ where the brain works in the background to process information at an unconscious level.

This results in an ‘aha’ or a ‘Eureka!’ moment when the solution or idea pops inside the head later when we are not consciously thinking about it.

Unexpected Connections

Certain unthought of combinations, associations, innovations and links between remote objects or ideas can be stimulated by specific kinds of music, provided it helps us focus ‘away’ from the problem rather than focussing more on it.

Most music that one listens to while doing creative work is just a distraction, and rather than helping us, it creates more cognitive load on our brain, which has to block out the sound.