Overcome Creative Roadblocks With the Help of Your Tablet

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[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of PCWorld, and not by PCWorld's editorial staff. ]

We’ve all been stopped dead by creative roadblocks at some point. We all love it when that lightning-bolt-burst of creative energy hits, but we know full well that it doesn’t come on-demand. Intel-powered tablets and 2 in 1s are wonderful productivity tools, but they can also be invaluable aids when you need a boost of creativity. When inspiration is frustratingly out of reach, try one or more of these tips or tricks to bring it back home.

Keep a Journal

One of the most commonly prescribed techniques to help avoid creative blocks is to simply keep a running journal of thoughts and ideas. Foremost, it’s a foolproof way to keep from forgetting the ideas that you do have: Every creative worker has had the horrifying experience of coming up with the perfect solution to a problem, or the ideal turn of a phrase, only to promptly forget it because it was never written down. As well, if a creative roadblock does arise, a journal gives you the chance to review your past ideas and reflect on your previous work, an activity which can be quite effective at spurring future creative efforts. 

Given the tech tools at our disposal, your journal needn’t be kept in pen-and-paper format. A tablet makes for the perfect journaling device. In fact, you’re probably more likely these days to have your tablet at hand than a notepad and a working pen. Just fire up any writing or note-taking app – Wordpad for Windows 8, preinstalled on tablets like the Acer Iconia A1, is perfect – to get things started, and begin making journaling a daily habit.

Seek Inspirational Content

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and every creative worker draws inspiration from other writers, artists, and musicians. For many, this inspiration is what drew them to their respective field in the first place.

There’s no need to trek to the library, museum, or concert hall to find this inspiration. All of the above and more are available at your fingertips from any number of sources. On an Android tablet like the Dell Venue 7, just drop in on the bookstore at Google Play, where more than 4 million titles are available for download. Similarly, you’ll find a catalog of more than 18 million songs available for download at Google Play Music – and any Android tablet user can store 20,000 songs in the cloud free of charge, so you won’t sap storage space on your tablet. If you prefer visual stimulus, a variety of art gallery apps can be found at the Windows Store through your 2 in 1 Lenovo Yoga 2. Or, pay a visit to the website of your favorite museum, which will typically have hundreds of digitized artworks online. 

Take a Game Break

Studies have shown that playing video games can make you more creative. The good news: It doesn’t matter what kind of game you’re playing. Just about any game will do. You probably already have a game or two loaded on your tablet. If creativity is lagging, spending a few minutes on an Angry Birds level or a few rounds of Bejeweled can give your brain a much-needed “reset” without sucking away too much of the day. Google Play and the Windows Store both feature tens of thousands of game titles, so you won’t have any trouble finding a title you enjoy.

Uncover the Magic of Doodling

Is scribbling stick figures and geometric squiggles just a waste of time? Research shows otherwise, noting that many habitual scribblers find creative value in doodling. For many, doodles can turn from abstract concepts into fully drawn-out ideas, often without the doodler consciously realizing what he’s doing. For some, doodling can also improve attention span and help them concentrate on a task, such as an otherwise dull conference call. As with note-taking, there’s no need to resort to old-fashioned paper and ink when doodling is in order. Check out an app like Paint Joy on the Asus Memo Pad FHD 10, or Fresh Paint for 2 in 1 Windows devices like the HP Split x2. There’s no need to bring a stylus; you can doodle away with nothing but your fingertip. 

Set Aside Creativity Time

Many have equated creativity as exercise for your mind, and just as with exercise for your body, it can be more effective if you specifically schedule time for it several times a week. Sit down with your preferred brainstorming canvas – be it a digital notepad or a drawing app – at intervals you set, and most importantly, turn off other distractions like email and instant messaging alerts. Use your tablet’s built-in calendar to remind you when “creativity time” arrives, and use the timer function to keep you on schedule. Just like physical exercise, dedicating 15 minutes three times a week can give your creativity a powerful boost.

Make Music for Your Mind

There are many schools of thought when it comes to creativity and music. Some people find classical music soothing and creativity-boosting, others find inspiration in the crashing sounds of heavy metal. While studies have come down on both sides of the “does music improve concentration?” debate, when it comes to being creative, the utility of music is a bit more personal and idiosyncratic. A little trial and error is in order. If you’re blocked, perhaps start with something less cacophonic and work up to more powerful melodies from there. Everyone is different. Some have even reported that video game soundtracks are the best music to work by. Whatever you choose, remember that your tablet’s built-in media player and streaming music apps like Pandora and Spotify give you instant access to all manner of music.

Structure Your Thoughts

While some workers find the chaos of a messy room or desk to be mind-opening, others find solace and comfort in tidiness and order. But even if you’re a fan of clutter, don’t underestimate the need for some structure when it comes to organizing your ideas. Page after page of disorganized notes and drawings may get the juices flowing, but when it comes time to turn that material into a finished project, you could spend hours trying to make sense of it all. A number of apps, tailor-made for tablet users, can help you turn your digital scraps into an organized and cohesive whole. Consider Evernote, Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote, and SpringPad, which are packed with ways to help you make sense out of written notes, images, and even audio recordings.

Whether you’re trying to find the inspiration to launch a new project or are struggling with some stumbling blocks on one that’s already underway, an Intel-powered device can help amplify your brainpower and get those precious creative juices flowing again.

[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of PCWorld, and not by PCWorld's editorial staff. ]

This story, "Overcome Creative Roadblocks With the Help of Your Tablet" was originally published by BrandPost.

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