5 Outside the Box Ideas to Free Your Creativity

step outside the box
Step outside the box.

Thinking outside the box isn’t always something that comes naturally.

And yet, if there’s a surefire way to jump-start your creativity, or get you moving again when you are stuck, it’s to enlist your outside the box thinking and energy.

One of our Finding Time Tips suggests stepping outside of the box. And that prompted a question from one of our new subscribers the other day.  She asked for some examples to illustrate ways that the following tip and action step might play out in real life. 

I was intrigued by the question and then realized that this would make a perfect blog post, too. So, thank you on two counts, Karen.

Stepping outside the box…

Need inspiration? Think big. And mix & match.

If your goal is jammed at the planning stage, step outside the box. Loosen up by combining 2 divergent ideas to create a new option. It’s a great way to enrich the outcome of your goal.

Imagine that you have a long term goal and are just starting to plan the steps for accomplishing it. Your tendency might be to approach this in a logical, linear fashion, going from A to B to C, and so on.

If you feel stymied at “A” you’ll be stuck and will never get to B or C.  That first step is a wall.  How do you get past it? 

And it doesn’t have to be only at the first step that you experience this. Any place where you become mired will begin to feel like a hurdle or a wall.

Or, think of it as a box…

Often, when people are stuck, they keep trying to modify or reformulate “A” in order to get moving. But sometimes this turns into an exercise in futility. 

Your ability to be a creative problem-solver is generally diminished in direct proportion to your level of frustration and discouragement.  So, what you need to do is step out of that box.

As soon as you do, you will be seeing things from a different vantage point. And sometimes, that alone makes a big difference. But how to step out of that box is not always obvious.

5 Ideas to Start:

So, here are 5 quick ideas to help you get yourself unstuck. 

They all involve some version of “stepping outside the box,” as you’ll see:

  • One suggestion, if you find yourself in this situation, would be to back away from “A”!  Put your planning down and move to another, brief and unrelated task.  Or, better yet, go for a quick walk, or make a cup of tea.  When you return to your planning 5 or 10 minutes later, you may well find that an idea pops up and gets you unstuck.
  • Or you might try starting with your goal and working backward.  This is a linear process, too – but in reverse.
  • A more free flowing process would involve listing out the planning steps that you already have in mind (forgetting about Step “A” for the moment).  Play with their order and see what ideas come up for you.  Something entirely unexpected may emerge. (I suggest doing this on the computer to save time.)
  • Try brainstorming all of the words or ideas that come to mind when you think of “A.”  Take two of the most divergent words and combine them into an idea.  Use this synthesis to create a new starting place.
  • Finally, a suggestion that some of my clients have found very helpful is to really stand things on their head.  Set about planning how NOT to get to your goal.  This can feel a little bit silly at the start, but often people find that it quickly gets them unstuck, and often gives them helpful information about whatever had them blocked, to begin with.

When you’re stuck, how are you able to step outside of the box?  How does this work for you? 

And for more help…

Overwhelmed? Discouraged? Stuck? Well, here’s something that will help you loosen those logjams and start moving again. “Why Can’t I Ever Get Anything Done?” How to Transform Your Life Using These 101 Time Tips is a compilation of 101 of my most popular time tips in expanded form, offering practical, heart-based wisdom in right-sized bites for easy digestion.

It includes time-tested tips and action steps separated into 11 common categories to help you find just what you need in the moment you need it. You know, transforming your life is all about transforming your time.  It’s within your reach, and these 101 Time Tips give you 101 stepping stones to your time success. 

And I’ve got a very special bonus for you, too. Why Can’t I Find My Direction?” 17 Journaling Prompts to Create Your Ideal Life is a workbook designed to support you in making the changes you most desire.

There’s so much for you here, and you can learn about it by clicking the link below:


Let’s explore time together …

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