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7 Brainstorming Methods That Actually Work

Feeling uninspired? Stuck for good ideas? Some days it’s easy to feel like your imagination reserves are running dry. However, you don’t have to feel that way for long. When you’re feeling this way, one of the best things you can do is make some time for brainstorming. Here are seven carefully selected methods that can help to get your creative juices flowing again!

1 – Write down ideas with your other hand
Often, one of the biggest hurdles that we encounter when trying to come up with good ideas is “mental fluff”. What perhaps is a great idea at its core, becomes hard to understand and gets obscured by too much detail. One way to combat this is to write down your brainstorming ideas with your non-dominant hand. Because most people find it more difficult to write this way, over time you will notice that your ideas are better articulated and easier to understand.

2 – Fill your creative fridge
One of the most common drains on creative juices is routine. If you get out of bed and do the same thing every day, listen to the same radio station, read the same newspaper and watch the same TV programmes then you may be zapping your flow. Try and change things up by adjusting your routine to take in new forms of media, pick up a book, listen to a podcast or simply go for a walk – you might be amazed by what you discover!

3 – Take a break from your gadgets
Another problem of the modern age that may be having a negative impact on our ability to generate new and exciting ideas is technology. We live in an “age of distraction” where multiple sources are competing for our attention at all times. Because of this, many people have found that their attention spans have become very short, constantly flipping from one thing to another. Try cutting the cord for a few days by leaving your phone at home, or if you can’t do that then switch off your notifications from apps like Facebook, Twitter or whichever other app steals most of your attention.

4 – Jot down ideas every day
Your need to treat your creativity as a muscle - it needs regular exercise to grow strong and healthy. So, whether it’s on a notepad, on your phone or on the back of your hand, you need to be jotting down every good idea that pops into your head. Don’t worry about fully-formed ideas, just write down anything that interests you and you think could be useful later on.

5 – Explore every option
A common hurdle when it comes to group brainstorming is that we think our ideas aren’t worth voicing, or that someone else will have a better idea than we do. One way to get over this is to ask every person in the room to contribute a lengthy list of ideas with no filter. This means everything from the most mundane and obvious, to the completely ridiculous ideas that are so stupid they could actually work. This is a great way to remove embarrassment and get everyone around the table to contribute.

6 – Clear Your Mind
Having a clear head is a great way to open the doors to inspired thought. Many successful entrepreneurs claim that their morning routine revolves more around early starts, exercise and even some simple guided mediation than it does missed alarms, skipped breakfasts and strong coffee. Try to organise yourself and free up some time so that you can start the day the right way.  

7 – Mix up your techniques
Beyond the tired mind map and SWOT techniques that many people (over)use for brainstorming, there are some more interesting and fun techniques that can help you with idea generation. Here are a few you may not have attempted before:

Time Machine
If you were facing this problem in the past, or in the future how would things be different and how would you deal with it?

If you were facing this problem in a different place – town, country, region, universe how would you handle it?

Opposites attract
Think about the logical solution to the problem that most people would be drawn towards. What’s the complete opposite solution?

If you were facing this problem as a different person (partner, parent, boss, enemy) what would they do?

Circular writing
Start by asking everyone around the table to come up with an idea. Then swap sheets and build upon each other’s starting points.

Money tree
If you had an abundance of resources, whether time money or people, how would you solve this problem?

What are your favourite brainstorming techniques? Have you seen results by adopting any of these brainstorming methods? Let us know by connecting with us on Twitter @TimeForYouGroup.

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