If you're feeling stuck in a creative rut, giving your imagination a quick jolt can help. This exercise can help you refocus and it only takes 60 seconds.
Photo by Heather Ruiz.
Whether you're doing some problem solving or just searching for new ideas, you need the creative part of your brain to be firing on all cylinders. John Kounios and Mark Beeman, the authors of The Eureka Factor, recommend you kick-start your creativity with this distant-future thinking exercise:
Imagine winning a trip to Tokyo either tomorrow or in one year. In the first scenario you'd likely picture how to get to the airport and collect your tickets, whereas in the second scenario, you'd conjure up the scent of cherry blossoms or the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo. The second set of images is far more creative and associative because thinking about the farther future permits more possibility and less analysis. Spend a minute to allow your thoughts to drift further into the future and you'll be surprised by what you come up with.
Of course, it doesn't have to be a trip to Tokyo. It could be anything as long as it excites you and encourages detailed, daydream-like thoughts. The further you can go the better. Once you have your creative muscles warmed up, you'll be able to find inspiration much easier.