10 creativity hacks

If you’re looking to add more creativity to your life, you’re not alone. It seems like everyone these days is trying to become a more creative person, and there’s a reason for that. In his 1996 book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that creative individuals tend to be smart, open to experience, passionate, and realistic dreamers who can achieve their goals. 

Brent Barksdale is no stranger to creativity. As the partner and creative director at Win BIG Media, an agency based in Washington D.C., Brent is used to solving problems by means of outside-the-box solutions. Brent joined the hosts of our Brand Junkies podcast to share his top ten tips to increase creativity in your life. If you want in, look no further!


#1Read Damn Good Advice by George Lois… if you’re a creative person and you want to be inspired, he tells stories about how he solved different problems for companies like MTV, for example. And he talks about the importance of your job as an advertising person. You can do so many great things with a good idea. Not just having that good idea but fighting for it and getting it implemented. That’s why I like the book. His attitude in general is just something that all creatives should see.”


#2Go to a museum. We’re visual people, and at a museum you’re seeing new things, and new concepts, and new colors and new realities. That gets new things in the brain so you can pull from them later. Just because you experience something now doesn’t mean you’re gonna use it, but maybe two years from now you’re gonna have it in your brain.”


#3 “Get out of your bubble and go see the world. Go see other parts of the country, and experience new things and traveling is a good way to do that. You might even find something cool a culture has done or advertising in other countries that can be helpful to you back home.” 


#4 “Sometimes you get in a rut, mentally, physically. Get over it by just getting out of the office. Go, get in nature. Go hiking, go walking in the park. Take off your shoes and put them in the grass and ground yourself. I read a book that said that’s good for you.”


#5Always have an idea book or something on your phone that lets you capture things regardless of where you are, even if you just wake up in the middle of the night. Somewhere where you can write down the idea so you can use it later.”


#6 “If we have a problem in our company or business, we solve it with thinking time. Go sit uninterrupted for 20, 30 minutes with your black notebook, and just write the question that you’re trying to answer, write the problem on top of the page, and just free-write. Every solution or anything you can think of to possibly solve that problem. I’ve kind adopted that to my creative process. Turn off the phone, nobody interrupts me. And eventually, you get the coolest, weirdest ideas because you worked through it.”


#7 “Get inspired by looking at videos or advertising that’s outside your normal realm. Music videos, political attack commercials, movies, Netflix specials, Snapchat advertising now, or Snapchat filters, internet advertising. I like to search in other mediums or other forms of media to find inspiration. And my favorite is music videos these days.”


#8Clean your desk. Clean your workspace. If it’s just crazy messy, sometimes you’re not gonna think. But if you really have a problem you need to solve, just clean it, and it’ll maybe clear your mind. And maybe it has nothing to do with working, but to me, it works. I always clean my desk, my office, and maybe it’s procrastination, I don’t know. But I do it because it just clears things. I clean my desktop on my computer, sometimes that helps. Thoughts, opinions, go.”


#9Change your work environment. If you’re sick of your perfectly manicured desk and you still haven’t solved your problem, I like to go to a coffee shop. I’ll pick up my laptop and I go to a coffee shop. That’s where I get my best work done, believe it or not. And I’ll put in my headset and just crush work. The noise around and the crowd around me helps.”


#10 “It’s important to build a creative resource library. Is there a YouTube or a Vimeo channel you like to go to watch? Is there a YouTube page, like a YouTuber like Casey Neistat. I know if I watch him I’ll get inspired. If I watch Gary Vaynerchuk videos like, they do interesting things. But Vimeo has a staff choice- staff picks.”


The Takeaways:

Several of these top ten tips have one thing in common: getting outside your zone of normal. Sometimes being more creative is as simple as reaching outside what you know and opening yourself up to new experiences. Whether that comes in the form of changing your work location or checking out things like videos or ads from other countries, expanding your bubble is a great way to spark new ideas. 


Think about this:

How much can higher levels of creativity improve your life? How often do you bang your head against the wall, incapable of seeing other solutions? 

How many of the above tactics do you already use in your own life and work? How many are you willing to implement?