Thinking outside the Box - How Do You Actually Do It?
With all the content circulating around the web on a daily basis, something all bloggers aim to do is try something different. As creatives, even though amazing relationships can be formed online, we still have to struggle with beating the competition, pushing ourselves creatively, staying fresh and ultimately, standing out. And to do that, we need to do something called thinking outside the box.
If you struggle with this from time to time and find it difficult to understand how to actually think outside the box, I totally feel you. It's a lot of pressure that's really part of our job description. We've got to stay up to date and we've got to stay ahead. It's hard.
The best thing to always do is be yourself and stay true to what you believe in.
Unfortunately, sometimes this isn't enough.
You can be doing things consistently for a long time, and all of sudden, you'll feel like something doesn't click. So what do you do? When you get bored or unhappy with a certain process, how do you change it? It's not as easy as you think to press reset and start again. Our minds don't work that way all the time, which can be frustrating.
In my career and for the ABOH brand, I always have to try and think outside the box - even more so over the last three or four months. I know this is something a lot of you struggle with. So today, I wanted to share with you what I think works when you need to think outside the box.
Kick Perfectionism To The Curb
We always struggle so much with our need to make things perfect and our stresses about the final result. I used to be a real perfectionist, but I'm not anymore. Perfectionism can be a great thing to have on some levels, but it can also cause a lot of problems to your process. Don't you think it's better to be original rather than perfect?
The more you realise that you don't want to fit inside the box is the start of your thinking outside of it.
Why not try to enjoy the emotional part of the process instead?
Sometimes, your best ideas might come when you're frustrated and about to give up. Really as creatives, our processes should be untidy, and filled with our emotions and deep feelings. We shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes, or to feel annoyed that the end result wasn't the same as our initial concept.
The times that you're spontaneous and come up with a great idea on the off chance helps you to create something outside of the box. Sure, every blog post you create might go through the same process. But ultimately, your why for creating each one will always be different.
Make Learning a Regular Part of Your Day
I can't emphasise how important this is. Throughout your day, you should block off at least half an hour where you either read or practice something new. The more you learn, the better off you'll be.
What if you knew something someone doesn't in your field? There's a strong chance you'd get a job over another candidate. Everything you can learn will come in handy and help to force you to think outside the box.
You never know what learning might do for you. Practicing a new strategy could completely improve your online presence in a really positive way. It could change the way you write, promote, interact, and design - but it could also change your outlook and the way you think.
Remember Your Experiences
Our experiences change everything. I wouldn't have this blog, my personal brand or be in the job I'm in without all the experiences I've had over the years. They teach us so much. And the more you try things that are outside of your comfort zone, the more you'll think outside the box.
Sometimes, this can be as simple as reading a magazine that's outside of the industry you work in or blog about. Sure, you might not be interested in the content, but it might spark some fresh ideas in you.They don't have to be extravagant - simply just different ways of experiencing something.
From taking a different route on your way to the gym, finding a new industry of blogs to read, or watching documentaries, you'll always see something new.
Think about it - you'll get fresh new ideas every day, and that's all you need to start thinking outside the box.
Do Things For You
I spoke to my VIP subscribers about this in a recent newsletter and they all agreed. If you aren't getting anywhere with a project, take a break and do something for you. This isn't procrastination - you'd only be procrastinating if you were struggling to get any further and ended up sitting there doing nothing. Take a break and do something you enjoy. Then go back to it with a fresh mind - that's usually the best way.
You can also do this with your routine. Mine has been getting me down lately, doing the same things every morning, then coming home and doing the same things every evening. It makes you feel bored and unsettled.
So for Tom's birthday tomorrow, we're both taking the day off, going to a new place and then heading out for tea. Switching up your routine every so often might only be a small change but it'll feel like a really big, positive one. It'll really help to freshen up your mind.
Dare to dream big. Dare to imagine. Dare to want things, dare to aim for them. There's nothing wrong with wanting big things for your life. It doesn't mean you're in a dream world - it just means you're recognising what you want for the real one.
Do you find it hard to think outside the box? What are your tips for coming up with fresh ideas and inspiration?