Top 10 activities to help boost your creative thinking

This was written by Maryia Viarkhusha

The best ideas come out of thinking creatively. If you’re wondering how to get ideas that change the game, there are some activities that can help boost ideation.

Here are ten tried and tested activities for charging up your creativity:

1. Take A Class

Learning something new is like giving your brain a vitamin boost.

Whatever the topic, you’ll feel challenged, energised and reinvigorated. Look for evening classes in a subject you know nothing about at your local adult education or evening college.

Places like City Lit offer evening, weekend and one day classes in subjects ranging from sculpture to philosophy.

If you can’t make it to a physical location, or you’re often on the move, consider online classes. 

Masterclass offers courses taught by some of the greatest minds in the world. Dip in and out, or follow a single course through to completion, and you might even get inspired to start a project of your own.

2. Keep a Journal

If you’re wondering how to get ideas, there’s no better method than journaling. 

It’s simple, therapeutic and can be done completely in private.

Try writing ‘morning pages’ or ‘evening pages’ – freeform, automatic writing about anything that comes to mind for either a set period of time or a specific page number.

It’s a great way to offload the stresses and strains of the day, so you can open yourself up to new ideas.

3. Use Your Commute

For most people, a commute might as well be dead time.

Whether you’re battling an early start, or exhausted after a long working day, it can be tempting to just sit back and zone out. 

Check out while checking in by listening to podcasts or audiobooks.

Non-fiction books are a great way to learn a new skill or perspective, while fiction can spark your imagination and open you up to new ideas.

Plus, if your eyes are tired from looking at a computer screen all day, this is the best way to tackle the classics.

There is a podcast for every possible niche and interest, so spend ten minutes online tonight and line up something for tomorrow morning.

Wired magazine has a great list here, or just see what the BBC Sounds app has to offer.

4. Challenge Your Body

Creativity isn’t just about thinking outside the box; make the most of that mind-body connection and throw the whole box away!

A physical challenge is a great way to disconnect from a busy brain and relax. 

If you feel like you need a manageable goal that’s outside of work, consider signing up for something fun but challenging, like a Tough Mudder race. 

If you want something more regular, ClassPass is a fun and flexible way to try new and exciting exercise classes in your area, and the act of choosing can feel creative in and of itself.

Need a little pick-me-up right now?

Challenge your body in small and unexpected ways that also work out your brain.

Try brushing your teeth with the ‘wrong’ hand (you’ll know which one this is once you give it a go!).

5. Meditate

Meditation doesn’t have to be hard and boring, and the benefits really are incredible.

You can either meditate to clear your mind, or meditate on a particular topic: like how to get ideas! 

If you’re new to meditation and want to build a practice, try Headspace for some guidance.

If you just want to try something new or chill out, you could also light a candle and gaze at the flame for a couple of minutes, or listen to some classical music while letting your mind wander.

6. Go to sleep

Have you ever struggled to solve a problem, only to go to sleep and gain some new perspective in the morning?

Our brain processes thoughts while we sleep, meaning that one of the best ways to increase idea generation might be to stop stressing and take a nap!

The benefits of sleep are tangible and significant, from improved energy levels, clearer thinking and an elevated mood – all things that contribute to increased creativity in the long run.

7. Track Your Moods

Our bodies go through all kinds of cyclical changes, both monthly and seasonal.

If you’re trying to be more creative, it’s important that you listen to, and work with, these changes.

If you’re a woman, you may find that you struggle to access creative thought in the days before your period, but have amazing insight into how to have good ideas in the week or so immediately after.

Learn how to anticipate this by tracking your cycle with an app like Clue.

In general, you may find that it’s harder to be creative in the winter months, and easier when the sun begins to emerge in springtime.

Consider using a SAD lamp to boost your energy if you’re feeling particularly lacklustre during the darkest times of the year.

8. Meet Someone New

If you’re like most people, you’re probably spending the majority of your time in the company of the same people: family, colleagues and friends.

Mix this up and spark your creativity by expanding your social circle, even just temporarily. 

Explore networking drinks or special interest meet ups in your area, or consider using a targeted app like Bumble Bizz or Bumble BFF.

9. Organise Your Space

We’ve all heard tidying guru and Netflix star Marie Kondo explain that a tidy home leads to a tidy mind, and it’s true!

It might seem like extra admin, or even a distraction technique, but organising and cleaning your space can be a creative activity too. 

Regularly put aside time to reorganise and reorient your space for some fresh perspective.

10. Research What The Pros Do

Think about who in your industry is breaking the mould: the mavericks and the trailblazers.

Go and see if you can find any interviews with them where they talk about their creative process, and the techniques that they follow when they’re wondering how to get ideas. 

Some of the biggest businesses and most powerful leaders in the world have written amazing books about the space where their professional and creative processes meet.