To quote Hemmingway, "What else can change your whisky?" Plus 11 more less destructive ways to amp up your creativity.

12 More Scientifically Proven Ways to Be More Creative

To quote Hemmingway, "What else can change your whisky?"


by Dave Robson

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Go for a Walk

You’ll come up with more and better ideas during a five-minute walk.

Take a Nap

People are better at problem-solving after sleep or a nap than people not so well rested.

Tell a Joke

Meetings with laughter produce more and better ideas than meetings without. Beware, though: jokes that hurt someone have the opposite effect, and jokes that don’t land have no effect. So keep a backup ready.

Don’t Own Ideas

When someone thinks of an idea as ‘theirs’, others are less likely to contribute to it. If a group thinks of an idea as belonging to the whole group, though, brainstorming produces more and better ideas.

Get Bored

This study had one group spend fifteen minutes copying telephone numbers from a book and then come up with creative ways to use two polystyrene cups. The bored phone number copiers did much better than the control group. So try brainstorming after you’ve completed a really boring task.


Practice fifteen minutes of mindfulness meditation and you’ll end up with better decision-making.

Ignore Facebook (When Other People Are in a Bad Mood)

Is your entire feed complaining about the weather / the world series / that really bad election? Turn it off. Moods spread through Facebook and a bad mood can ruin your creativity.

Exercise Regularly

People who exercise regularly get a creativity boost right after exercising. You can’t phone it in, though; people who don’t exercise regularly don’t get any such boost after exercising. Maybe because they’re in too much pain.

Dim the Lights

Turn or lights down or, at least, eliminate your florescent lights. Harsh lighting screws up creative thinking. But turn the lights back up when it’s time to implement your ideas—bright lights are better for analytical thinking.

Skip the Conference Call

Most people spend conference calls doing other work, responding to emails, or making food. Find a new way to collaborate.

Get Entitled

Prime yourself to feel entitled by writing down three reasons you demand the best from life. People who did this were better at coming up with ideas than people who didn’t.

Have a Drink

People who have just one drink before coming up with creative ideas are more creative than people who completely abstain from alcohol and people who have more than one drink. We’ll drink to that.

Need more advice on being creative? Check out our series on brainstorming, our article on how to reuse your old ideas, or how to repurpose some of the content you’ve already created.