How do you keep your creative juices flowing?


In the midst of a start-up as leaders we are pulled in so many directions. We find ourselves putting out fires, keeping fires from starting, and even intentionally starting some fires! The paperwork, the lack of sleep, the juggling -- my brain feels as fried as those first three months of my daughter's life.

Yes, at no other time has my creativity been so needed. In decisions, in problem solving, and in scenario development.

So -- how do you keep your creative juices flowing?


asked Apr 14 '11 at 11:42
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points

5 Answers


1) Nutrition. Fill your diet with "brain foods" and real green tea. Green tea is known for tension-relief, which is good to keep your ideas flowing and free from clouded judgements.

2) Open spaces. Don't lock yourself up in an office or a confined room. Let your mind breathe.

3) Stay social and stay active. Fill your day with fun social activities to keep your mind clear.

Those are my top three :)

answered Apr 14 '11 at 13:28
344 points


In my opinion, there are two things that make you creative:

  1. Time. Your brain does a lot of automatic thinking while doing something else. You can hardly accelerate that. It takes time to come up with new ideas. Always take this into account. An initial idea will be much better after a week or two of (passive) thinking, as it gets associated and connected with new input and new ideas. There is no shortcut to that, just patience.
  2. Constraints. There are actually two types of constraints: a) Constraints in the type of work, for example: Draw a landscape picture with only 2 colors in under 30 minutes. These constraints make you more creative. But it might be hard to come up with constraints in the first place. b) Time constraints. I have a day job and there's no reason for quitting it. I work on my startup a couple hours per week. This is an incredible tough constraint, but it makes most of my time really productive (side node: forget all advice about stopping procrastination - get a second job and you are productive as hell) and since I need to focus on other things a lot throughout the day, I have a huge time constraint to think about new ideas. Here, my first point also kicks in.
answered Apr 14 '11 at 20:58
21 points


Sleep, eat, socialize, watch interviews of successful startup entrepreneurs on This Week In Startups podcast, and read blogs and newspapers.

answered Apr 14 '11 at 22:20
714 points


  1. Don't work where you usually play..
  2. Browse your competitor's site for inspiration, edge creating ideas.
  3. Listen to good newage music while you work ;-)
  4. Don't eat heavily while working
answered Apr 14 '11 at 23:46
Ron M.
4,224 points


Fight for your creative time. With all the stuff going on, there's always the tendency to get mired in operations and be the hamster on a wheel. You just have to fight for your "idea time," because presumably, that ability to have ideas and figure out how to execute them got you into the game in the first place. You're going to have to look at your tasks and actively decide to not do a few things. And you'll be better for having done so.

Take care of yourself. Nutrition is extremely important as well as adequate rest.

answered Apr 15 '11 at 03:18
840 points

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