When our daily routines are geared toward barreling through a to-do list, it can be hard to set the right conditions for creativity.
Fortunately, there is a time-tested approach — that’s also quite simple — for generating creative ideas.
First, gather raw materials in your area of interest. This could mean anything from articles you’ve been meaning to read to the browser tabs you’ve left open on your computer. Then, spend time digesting the material — and looking for connections. Fill in a small index card with notes, as if you’re trying to solve a puzzle. Shuffle between the physical cards looking for patterns and themes.
Then — and this is the most important part — do nothing. Find a way to disengage your mind to allow unconscious processing, whether that’s by taking a walk, listening to music, watching a movie, or even taking a shower. This may not feel like tangible work, but clearing some headspace will make room for the ideas to come.