We don’t always have a lot of time to do what we need. At the same time, it’s not uncommon to be called upon to be creative: especially when you have problems that require innovative solutions.
So how do you generate ideas fast when you don’t have much time? You start with a bit of prep work when you don’t need ideas at all.
Create an Idea Archive
The simplest way to stay creative is to make creativity part of your daily diet. Get in the habit of creating new ideas every single day. Start with a seed, something which fascinates you. Now try to come up with ten brand-new thoughts related to your seed. This might seem hard at first, but you’re going to surprise yourself. The more you do this, the easier it is.
Ideas need raw material. For raw material, you quite simply need to know stuff. Lots of stuff. By picking up books and articles and making a goal of reading absolutely everything, you’ll start to gain a body of knowledge to draw from. Not sure where to begin? Subscribe to news feeds or blogs about things that already interest you. Browse bookstores and libraries. Page through magazines until something catches your eye.
Did you know the act of drawing activates the creative sectors of your brain? The nice thing is you don’t need to be an artist to doodle. Just let your mind and your pencil wander. Scribble and sketch until you start making connections.
If you know you’re going to be hunting ideas in regards to one particular project, make a point to stop thinking about it just to let your mind relax and work the problem subconsciously for a while. Do something mindless such as taking a walk or cleaning and let your brain turn the idea over for a bit.
Talk to People
As with reading, exposing yourself to new ideas is essential if you want to be able to generate ideas later. Talking to people outside your usual circle of friends expands your horizons. Seek opportunities to enjoy conversations with people outside your cultural or socio-economic circles.
Do Things Differently
Opening a door or brushing your teeth with your opposite hand will stimulate your brain along new neural pathways. With this in mind, look for ways to break your routine and do things differently.
The nice thing about these ideas is they set you up for creativity later. When you need ideas, they’ll already be there. All with seemingly no effort at all!