Tips for Boosting Creativity and Problem Solving

by Stephen Mills on March 29, 2010

These are scientific ways to boost your creativity and problem solving skills.  They are all simple and based upon the results of controlled experiments.  They may seem silly or strange, but they are proven to work.

Priming is a technique where you think about something or create some environmental cue that will alter your subsequent performance.  Seeing a design where one item stands out as different or thinking about creative types will significantly impact your creative output.

  • Spend a moment thinking about the typical traits of artists or musicians to increase creativity.
  • Spend a moment thinking about the typical traits of a professor, scientists, or mathematicians to increase problem solving ability.
  • Put a design like this on your computer background or print it off and hang it up so you are peripherally aware of it.  You can use whatever designs you like but make sure you you make something stand out as a contrast and use positive colors like green, blue, orange, and yellow.  Avoid red and black.
Creativity Booster

Creativity Booster

  • Think for a few moments about what problem you are trying to solve or what you are trying to create.  Then, for a little while (5 to 15 minutes) do something that totally consumes and distracts your brain such as a Sudoku puzzle.  Then go back to your problem and write down any ideas that come to mind.
  • Work in an area with a window that looks out on trees, grass, gardens, or other natural environments.
  • Do your creative work in a natural setting outside.
  • Place a plant or flowers on your desk.
  • Expose yourself to bright hues of the colors green, orange, yellow, or beige.  Avoid red and dark colors.
  • Do anything to relax such as soothing music, breathing, meditation.
  • While working put your hand on the table or other object and gently pull towards you.  You don’t need to pull hard enough to move anything.
  • Expose yourself to novel ideas, information, experiences.
  • Lie down instead of sitting or standing up.

What do YOU think?  Leave a comment and join the conversation.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Eduard @ People Skills Decoded March 29, 2010 at 8:31 am

ThanX Stephen,

You make a good point here about creativity with the image. It has a lot to do with being willing to go the other way. In actions, and it thinking. If you don’t allow yourself to be unconventional, than you repress you creativity instead of stimulating it.
.-= Eduard @ People Skills Decoded´s last blog ..3 Major myths about being a coach =-.


Sid Savara March 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hey Stephen,

Curious, is there a reason for your recommendation of the colors for the desktop background?

I actually like having background that look like the beach, ocean, or the night sky. Vast open spaces

Although, perhaps that helps me relax and de-stress more than it helps me be creative 😉
.-= Sid Savara´s last blog ..13 Ways To Improve Your Concentration With a Distraction Free Work Environment =-.


Cheryl Paris March 30, 2010 at 5:44 am

Hi Stephen,

To increase creativity and problem solving capability I have the word “AUM or OM” from Hindu religion in the front wall. The picture allows me to concentrate and think straight which helps in boosting my ability to solve problems.

You guys might want to try it out.

.-= Cheryl Paris´s last blog ..How We Grew With An Acorn- N is for… =-.


Greg March 30, 2010 at 9:33 am

I’ve often found that the best approach to problem solving for me is to remove myself completely, and forget about the problem. I think I tend to overanalyze.
.-= Greg´s last blog ..Eating In America — What Are We Teaching Our Kids? =-.


Tess The Bold Life March 30, 2010 at 9:57 am

My home is filled with bright hues…walls furniture everything. I also spend most of my free time in nature. I find it very inspiring, motivating.
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Create a Blog Buzz-How to Blow the Lid Off Ordinary =-.


Richard | April 15, 2010 at 10:01 am

Writing or any creating in a natural setting after meditation is so deep and beautiful that I pity anyone who hasn’t experienced it.
.-= Richard |´s last blog ..Tabata Intervals : Day 30 (Post Mortem) =-.


hew len April 11, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I have started my own band … so it is most important for a artist like me to boost importance and creativity. this article has som really good points. I will try to improve my creativity.


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