Valley Girl With a Brain

Questioning, like, everything

10 Cheap Ways to Get Inspired (Now)

Quick creative fixes for brain farts and boredom

Motivate me. Inspire me. Do something.

These are thoughts I have daily--when I'm bored at work, bored at home or bored with life.

And I find it completely ridiculous. It's a great time to be alive, kicking and creative.

1.    Paint a chalkboard wall. Channel your inner school kid by writing stories, jotting notes, calculating the first 100 digits of pi or playing Pictionary. The only rule: Never let the board be blank. (total cost~ $20)

2.    Watch a TED Talk. TED's mission is simple: to spread ideas. Nearly a thousand of these 18-minute or less ideas are available on the website, which feature a gamut of topics, including: the dangers of choice, how schools kill creativity and things we never knew about the orgasm.  In his talk on the science of motivation, Daniel Pink explains how rewards can diminish our focus, especially during creative projects. In fact, higher incentives often lead to worse cognitive performances. (total cost~ free)

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3.    Write an e-mail or a letter to someone you lost touch with. Remember that guy you had that amazing rapport with at that party? Or that professor from grad school who was cooler at 70 than you'd ever be? Or your elementary school sweetheart that gave you your first kiss. Tell these people how they once impacted you. Be honest, be charming and be open. Don't expect anything in return. (total cost~ postage stamp/free)

4.    Re-read an old e-mail, letter, story or poem that you love. "Blood Bridge" by Jim Carroll is one of my favorite poems. I memorized it when I was 16 and still know it by heart. Even now, I love the way the words sound and how it makes me feel. There is a reason we love the things we love--because they make us feel good, powerful and special. Sometimes, all three. (total cost~ free)

5.    Do something good. The simple act of signing a petition can help make a difference in someone's life. Become active in your community--tutor a child, volunteer at a museum, take in a stray animal. Or get crafty--make greeting cards or pillowcases for those in need. VolunteerMatch.org is a great resource to find local opportunities. (total cost ~free)

6.    Write a bucket list. It's not just for Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. If you're in a rut, it may be because you feel like you have nothing to look forward to. Spend five minutes writing down everything you've always wanted to do. Find a way to accomplish them. (total cost~ free, accomplishing them costs may vary)

7.    Talk to a stranger. This doesn't mean that you interrupt a family at dinner or ask the bus driver the intimate details of his personal life. But you can invest a few minutes to start a conversation with someone you find pleasant. It doesn't have to be a deep or life-changing discussion. Just be open. You may be surprised. (total cost~ free)

 

8.    Clean your space. According to feng shui rules, your surroundings deeply affect your lifestyle and your mindset. Make your home (especially the entrance) welcoming and comfortable. Get rid of the clutter--it affects your subconscious(total cost~ free)

 

9.    Make something.  Back in December, I made a snow globe in a craft class, and I still haven't shut up about it. I love it. It's made out of a mason jar, glitter, water and a little ship. And every time I look at it, I can't help but feel a little giddy. There's nothing quite like creating something from your own two hands. (total cost~ minimal; my snowglobe class did cost $15)

 

10.  Take the long way home. Cheesy, I know. But sometimes, the long way home can be the right way. Break up the monotony in your life and get out of your old patterns--you may find a new perspective waiting around the corner. (total cost~ free)

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: ThisJenKim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jen Kim is a former Psychology Today intern and a graduate of Northwestern University.

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