Believe it or not, most jobs require creativity. In a sense, we are all the artists of our own lives, including our careers. For example, think of how many salespeople exist in the world. While proven sales methods can be effective, it still takes creative thinking and methods to stand out and secure the deal.

Even athletes put their own twist on things. Argentinian soccer legend, Diego Armando Maradona, was known to mesmerize audiences with his footwork and skills. He brought a magic to the game that people across the globe considered to be art. So, no matter what your job is, creativity is not only required but also necessary to bring fresh ideas and strategies to the table. Today, we will break down some practical steps to awaken your inner creative genius.

  1. Focus Your Attention and Start Writing

This doesn’t mean you need to sit down and write a novel. What it does mean is this: turn off distractions, grab a piece of paper or open a document and write. When I start writing blog posts, I don’t always know exactly what I want to say, but I usually have a couple basic ideas of where I want to go. Sometimes, I open a word document and write down those ideas at the top: no paragraphs, not even complete sentences. Doing this encourages my brain to start creating more coherent thoughts that eventually turn into paragraphs.

Maybe you need fresh ideas for how to interact with people who come into your shop. Start by writing whatever comes to mind, even if you think it’s already been done or could improve. Your list might look like the following:

  • Run email promotions
  • Advertise more online
  • Create a new/more enticing logo
  • Host an event

One idea leads to another and another and the cycle continues until your page is filled with various ideas. While you might not use every single idea, a few, even a handful are sure to be effective.

According to Strategic Coach, “When you first had the thought, you might have seen it as a dilemma due to potential hurdles that your brain came up with. Now, you’re able to use your creative mind to approach it.” Our brains work on overtime every day, sifting through mountains of information. Writing down ideas not only allows us to remember the thought, it also paves the way for constructive strategy and planning.

2. The Internet is Your Friend

We are so lucky to live at a time when the internet exists. It has never been easier to find inspiration at a few clicks of a button. If you’re stuck in a creative bind, hop onto a search engine and look for inspiration. Perhaps a motivational quote, a photo or a TedTalk can boost your imagination.

Even the most creative minds hit roadblocks sometimes. “When I feel a bit dull and bored, I hop onto Pinterest and search up quotes, photography or even creative ideas. It is almost sure to put a little pep in my step,” says Dana, a photographer. The internet provides each of us the chance to learn from one another and gain inspiration from all around the world.

3. Take Breaks

When it comes to increasing productivity and creativity, breaks are your best friend. We tend to put a lot of emphasis on how much we do in a given period of time. While working our hardest is something to be proud of, it’s actually detrimental to avoid breaks. When it comes to creativity, the mind needs rest to pump out the great ideas.

When we are relaxed, there is an increase of dopamine, the feel good chemical, and our minds are able to think freely without pressure. When we force ourselves to come up with something amazing, there is pressure and stress, which inhibits creative thinking. Therefore, give yourself a break! Close your eyes, meditate, exercise or stretch. There are many small ways to treat yourself during the day, and subsequently boost your imagination.

4. Listen to Music

Music opens us up to a world of emotion. We all have different music preferences, but it’s safe to say that whatever we choose to listen to likely inspires us or evokes a certain feeling. “Every morning before I exercise, I turn on my motivation playlist,” says Jimmy. “It wakes me up and makes me feel like I can accomplish something that I’m not always in the mood to do.”

Music has the power to transport us, inspire us and make us feel a depth of emotion. Therefore, curate a playlist of your favorite, most inspiring, or most motivating music. When you feel like you’re in a rut, turn it on. Close your eyes or just zero in on the song. Dance if you feel like dancing. Let it inspire you and boost your mood.

It may not give you a million ideas, but exposing yourself to songs that move you in some way can definitely provide some insight or at the very least help you feel a bit more inspired.

5. Interview Others

It might sound strange, but ask other people questions. Ask what inspires your friends, family or coworkers. Inspiration can be contagious. One thing that encourages me without fail is interviewing others for my blog posts. Sometimes, I feel stuck and don’t know where to go with my writing. When I reach out to friends and coworkers for their insight and ideas, I feel a sense of gratitude and motivation when I hear their thoughts.

You can even interview yourself! Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What inspires me?
  • What were my favorite things to do when I was a kid?
  • What am I naturally drawn to?
  • Who is my favorite TV character?
  • If there were no limitations to this project I’m currently working on, what would I do?

Reminding yourself of what inspires you can shift your mood and help you refocus your energy while bringing your own creative twist to whatever you’re working on. Inspiration lies around every corner, so the next time you feel stuck or low on creativity, try jotting down your thoughts or utilizing the internet.

Remember that you deserve breaks, and this time of relaxation and mindlessness will actually boost your ideas. Pop in your headphones and let the music take you to a world of inspiration. Finally, turn to the people in your life. Ask around to see how others find inspiration; it might just spark your own.