Hi guys! It’s been awhile. I always underestimate the month of December and the amount of busy it brings. I am here now though with How to Think Creatively: Part 2. I really love this part because of how helpful it is for a variety of people. I think it will give you great ideas of how to approach challenges and get past those blocks.
Here is How to Think Creatively: Part 1 if you missed it.
How to Think Creatively: Part 2
You know those people (it may even be you) who say, “I think too much.” What exactly do they mean? It could mean several things.
- I’ve thought about this problem so much that I just feel even more stuck than before.
- I’ve thought about this problem so much that I just don’t even know what to do anymore.
- I’ve thought about this problem so much that it just makes me depressed.
- I’ve thought about this problem so much that I’m starting to become irrational.
- I’ve thought about this problem so much that I just feel overwhelmed now.
I’m sure there are many others. Everyone has their own meaning of what “I think too much” means. But is “thinking too much” such a bad thing as it may seem? We tend to think “too much” is an excess of something we don’t want. What we need to learn is how to compartmentalize all of those thoughts and remember to stay rational and as objective as possible. I should also mention that those who “think too much” are in the creative process, they just might not know what to do with so much information to a variety of problems and blocks.
If you have several blocks, do you give each one its due diligence? Or do you go from thinking about one problem, to a potential solution for another problem, back to a different problem than the first two. See how it could get confusing? Information overload! Here’s what you should do:
Step 1: Identify a challenge. Give the proper amount of time to that challenge you’re having. It also helps to write down the problem and all of its potential ideas, solutions, decisions, etc. Then do the same for every other problem on a different sheet.
Step 2: Ask yourself better questions to gain better information and ideas about the challenge. If you’re a visual learner, write down these questions and answer them. Ask yourself:
What would happen if…?
What would NOT happen if…?
What would happen if I didn’t…?
What would happen if I did…?
Who could solve this problem?
Where can I get information to help me solve this problem?
How would I solve this problem if my life depended on it?
If I could wave a magic wand and fix this problem, what would happen?
What is one thing that would never work and why?
What is one thing that would work and why?
What is the most unusual idea you can think of for the problem?
If you woke up tomorrow and the problem was fixed, what would be different?
What would my best friend/parents/pastor/counselor/boss say?
If I was 20 years older, what would I say to my current self?
What resources do I need to solve the challenge?
How will the problem get worse if I don’t address it?
Step 3: Evaluate the information you’ve gathered. Go through the information and cultivate the potentially good ideas and figure out why the not-so-good ideas aren’t good ideas after all.
Step 4: List out what steps are necessary to accomplish your goal. Make your goal a SMART one. Is it…
Step 5: Add deadlines to each step. This is exactly what ‘timely’ means. Break your primary goal down into mini steps by making daily, weekly, and monthly goals to reach your ultimate goal.
Step 6: If there are other people involved in your challenge, write down at what step they are responsible. You want to write down who is involved in each step in order to know who is holding you back and who is not.
Step 7: Schedule time to accomplish each step before its deadline. Don’t give yourself an excuse to procrastinate. If there is a step that takes time or you have to rely on other people to get that step done, this is the time to make sure time is scheduled and other people are aware of what their responsibility is and what your deadlines are. Make sure to be assertive and to keep boundaries.
Step 8: Evaluate where you are in the process every week or biweekly (whatever works for you). Go over your SMART goals and make sure everything still applies.
Step 9: Success! On to another challenge.
I guarantee you that if you ask yourself the above questions , you will build more information and be further ahead in ideas. If you utilize the questions with all, or most, of your challenges, they will become second nature and your creative thinking will develop.
Next week, I’ll talk about how we can get out of our comfort zone in order to stimulate creativity to provide us with more solutions and ideas.
Happy New Year, home philosophers!