Some of the suggestions I’ve seen for boosting your creativity will drive you nuts when you need ideas quickly. Anyone who has to come up with ideas on demand will know how difficult it can be.

1. See how many ideas you can come up with for a brick.

My answer, none, I don’t care about the brick, do you? The idea behind the exercise is to look at things in different ways. But it would be far more helpful if they suggested some questions, prompts or a technique to help with your current project.

2. Sleep on it

Erm…you are on a deadline here, and if you’re employed, can you imagine telling your boss “I’m just your popping home for a nap”. I am not saying sleeping on a problem isn’t helpful, it is, but come one, you need something you can use immediately.

3. Take a walk in nature.

There is no doubt that a walk can let your mind relax and wander, I know it helps me. But it’s peeing down outside and you need ideas now!

4. Think outside the box, think differently

What the hell do these things mean?

This is the reason I love creative thinking techniques. In an ideal world, you would be able to let ideas percolate over time, but that isn’t always possible. So when you’re stuck and need ideas on demand, try experimenting with random words, mind maps, use freewriting, use a prompt, combine two different things.

These are only a few creative thinking techniques, there are hundreds. Find a few that work for you and they’ll help save you when you’re stuck for ideas.