Harnessing Creativity When You Really Don’t Want To

Aug 13, 2015

If you’re anything like me, then you’re creative! And probably good looking! But this gift of creativity probably means that you have trouble motivating yourself. Some days the most creative thing you do is think of ways to look busy, am I right?

You’re probably asking yourself, “Why should I take advice from you? You’re just an intern.” Very true, reader! While I may be young and inexperienced, I’m also an expert in one field—laziness. I could write dissertations about how much time I’ve wasted in my life, but they’re too darn long! So yeah, hear me out.

Below are some tips to harness your creative juices (weird phrase) when you’re feeling sluggish.

  1. Acknowledge the problem. Perhaps you think your ideas are cool, but lofty and unrealistic, so you don’t try to accomplish them. Maybe you’re afraid of getting your ideas shot down. Regardless of what it is, you should ask yourself why you aren’t motivated to write that memo or finish your memoir.
  2. Identify your triggers. Some things just aren’t conducive to a good work environment, such as reading comic books on your computer, or taking a Buzzfeed quiz on what kind of kitchen appliance best fits your personality (toaster, by the way). What are you tempted to do at work that prevents you from making real progress? Knowing is half the battle.
  3. Give yourself small projects. If you think to yourself, “I have to write 300 lines for this client,” or, “I need five big ideas to present for that internal review on Friday,” chances are you’ll be intimidated by the scope of your task, and you’ll procrastinate until the last minute. Instead, divide the assignment into small, approachable sections. Before you know it, you’ll have written a newer, longer War and Peace.
  4. Have fun with it. Joking around with an assignment, or making fun of it, is great motivation. In my experience, I get all the nonsense and weird jokes out of my system, which gives me a big head start. Plus, sometimes I get ideas from the jokes that end up being pretty good, and maybe even usable.
  5. Use your interests to your advantage. What do you distract yourself with? Netflix? Sports highlights? Find ways to integrate these interests into your work. It will make things more enjoyable, and it will bring a new perspective to your assignments. A memo is fine, but memos written like a mission briefing from Mission Impossible? Even better!

 So next time, instead of going to the bathroom to check your phone, try one of these tips! Soon you’ll be leading meetings instead of wiping the drool from your chin. Good job son, I’m proud of you.