It’s likely that another long day of remote work is upon you, and you are questioning where you’ll find the energy to produce the fresh and original ideas required to excel in your role. If you’re a natural born extrovert, working solo can be especially challenging — without the banter and casual encounters you used to draw inspiration from, it can feel impossible to tap into your own well of creativity.
But fear not — there are several quick and enjoyable techniques that are particularly effective at nudging a sleepy, left-brain awake. None require much time or materials, or for the party who uses them to be the classic ‘creative type’. They are simply a means to get your creative muscles in better shape so that you can continue to imagine, innovate and excel in or out of isolation.
1. Draw a self-portrait. Look into the nearest mirror, or into your phone camera, or gaze at the reflection of your face in your computer screen, then start sketching. Okay, so you’re not Leonardo da Vinci. Great news — it doesn’t matter. The point of this exercise is not to create a masterpiece, it’s to activate the parts of your brain that might otherwise be on snooze.
2. A tale of two objects. Write down the names of two random objects within your site line, then spend five minutes brainstorming as many creative, crazy, or practical ideas you can think of that incorporate both items. Using each idea as an inspiration for the next, this is a magnificent way of getting your mind charged up for its next creative breakthrough.
3. Create something terrible. It’s a lot easier to fix a bad idea than it is to wallow in blank thought. Drown out the nagging voice inside your head that says your work is not up to par, and just get started. Even if what you produce is an absolute mess, it will likely inspire you to make something better, and then something even better. That’s what innovation is all about.
4. Tell a story in one sentence. This quick, creative challenge will push both your creative language skills and your knack for getting to the core of an issue. For inspiration, check out this Paris Review article, in which six authors are asked to pull out the definitive sentence of their novel. The answers are powerful.
6. Paint with Post-its. You know there are at least three pads of Post-it notes hiding somewhere in your house. Go find them and use a nearby wall as your gigantic, temporary canvas. Create a house, or a heart, or a pixelated version of your favorite team logo. And if you are feeling really inspired, post your colorful design in a window for all your quarantining neighbors to enjoy.