Is Your Train of Thought Off Track? 3 Tips for Coming Up With New Ideas

May 3, 2017 By Business

Oh no.

It happened again.

You didn’t just hit a bump in the road, you hit a full on roadblock.

Your train of thought derailed so hard that Marvel has decided to make a movie about it!

In other words…you ran out of ideas.

It’s a terrifying feeling, recognizing that the well you normally draw from has suddenly run dry and you have to find some sort of source to help you accomplish your work.

When You Run Out of New Ideas

Every kind of work requires some sort of creativity, and when you’re at your wit’s end, it’s hard to know what to do next. But don’t worry, that’s what this article is for.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have your creativity back and you’ll be able to work like you haven’t worked since you were a bright-eyed newbie.

So how exactly do you get your creativity back?

Find the nearest lamp.

Now rub it.

Now make a wish on that genie that just showed up and you’ve got it!

I’m totally kidding.

What I’m sharing with you will actually help you find your creativity in real and practical ways that don’t involve genies and/or essential oils.

So you’ve run out of ideas…here are three things you can try to help get them flowing again.

FIRST: Get Talking

Remember, two heads are better than one! Work with a friend and get a lot more done.

You have a unique perspective, and everyone else has one too. This means that putting yours together with a co-worker’s or friend’s will help you see the world a little bit differently.

I recently was able to do this with a co-worker of mine. We were trying to figure out the messaging of some of our website’s pages as well as what our ads should sound like. Working with him helped produce much better results in a faster, easier, and more fun way.

But there are some cases where this may become counter-productive.

Some coworkers can actually suck away your time. Keep this in mind, and do your best to monitor yourself and see when you’re using your time with your coworkers productively or not.

I have a certain coworker that I can’t always work with because we will both get too ADD and will lose track of what we should be focusing on for the business unless we have a very targeted project we’re working on.

Be sure to be productive in your time that you spend with your coworkers, and always find a way to rein everything in to ultimately benefit your business.

Really, any sort of a break will probably aid you in getting your creativity back, but if you can get it back while being productive, that will always be better.

SECOND: Get Reading

Taking your mind off of the task at hand can help open your mind to new ideas.

Just like your friends have different perspectives, written words can provide new perspectives, too. It’s like you get to spend a little bit of time with each of the authors whose words you choose to read…that is, assuming you actually read what they have to say and you don’t just skim through it like a heathen.

Finding a good book can give you a place to rejuvenate your creativity, especially if it’s one you can read a bit at a time, day by day. This will help you give your mind a break of doing it’s own thing too much every day.

But what if you don’t have a book, or any idea what kind of book you would actually want to read?

Well, there are a few options, actually.

You could ask some friends what sort of books you need to read.

Or, if like me you don’t have friends, you could just Google that sort of question. Or maybe you don’t need to look for an entire book just yet and you need a quicker fix!

In that case, you can always read articles.

I mean, you’re doing that right now, so congratulations. Can you feel the creativity coming back yet?

If not, don’t worry, because seriously, one of the biggest things that you can to help yourself is this last tip:

THIRD: Get Over Yourself

Don’t worry about it.

All that time that you’re spending thinking about how much you need your ideas to be successful is just filling your brain with more worry and less ideas.

So stop it.

Let yourself relax a little, and see if that doesn’t get the ideas flowing. Whatever it is that you do to relax, go ahead and do it.

Unless it’s illegal.

Then don’t.

Just take some time and devote it to something that won’t make you feel like you’re not being successful. That will free up your mind in ways that may surprise you.

If you don’t have any ideas of what to do to try to relax, maybe try sending a text of gratitude to one of your coworkers…or maybe your spouse. They could probably use it, right?

Maybe try writing down a few things you’re grateful for. Just a list of 10 or so things can really help change your perspective in a way that can take the edge off of your stress.

Just stop getting in your own way.

I’ve been doing improv comedy for years now, and I’ve seen people succeed and fail at it because they believe they will. For some, new ideas just won’t seem to come, while they come all day long for others.

More often than not, the difference is in how much they are worried about whether they’ll succeed or not.

You will succeed.

Just spend your time thinking about how you will succeed, and don’t worry about the ways you won’t.

Conclusion

In case the bolded section headings weren’t enough, here is everything in the most succinct manner possible.

  1. If you’re stuck and can’t get any new ideas flowing, don’t worry.
  2. Work with a friend to get new ways of looking at what you’re working on.
  3. Read a book (or blog) to get yourself exposed to more perspectives and thinking more clearly.

And last of all, just stop worrying about it.

I hope this has been as helpful for you to read as it has been for me to write. Also, I hope your train of thought gets going again, and soon.

What do you do to get your creativity back? What sort of processes have brought you some of your best ideas? Did this article give you any good ideas?

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Brad Witbeck

Creative Director & Head Writer
When he's not heading up Disruptive's Video Advertising efforts, you can usually find Brad on a video shoot somewhere, writing a new comedy routine, or studying more acting and writing techniques with his drop-dead gorgeous wife.

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