Four ways to jump-start ideas

Sometimes when working on a project I get stuck — I can’t seem to come up with ideas or move the project forward. This can be alarming when I have a tight deadline! Here are some methods I try to get ideas flowing again:

Change tools

The computer is a powerful tool, but looking at a monitor can be claustrophobic — it can make things look too polished and final. I try switching to a notebook or sketchpad. Sometimes, just switching from lined to unlined paper helps, or from pen to a soft pencil. And turn off your email alerts!

Change methods

Try giving yourself a 15 minute drill — jot down or draw any idea at all that comes to mind without making judgments.

Change Context

f I’m stuck for ideas, the best medicine is a subway ride (except during rush hour!) I make sure not to bring any distractions — just a notebook. This works every time. Or try visiting a café, browsing a bookstore, taking a walk — anything that gets you away from your desk.

Collaborate

Try bouncing ideas off of someone who has nothing to do with your project. This can leads to great insights, or a reality check.

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FACT OF THE MONTH

The New York Board of Education barred the whipping of children in its schools on March 4, 1908.