From the February 2000 issue of Startups

Do you remember the last time you struggled to come up with a great idea? As the minutes ticked by and you strained to think of the perfect sales pitch or presentation strategy, your energy, your confidence and ultimately your productivity were zapped. Whether you realize it or not, your environment can play a large role in how you think, function and ultimately produce. Here are several ways to enhance your creative side and increase your productivity:

  • Make your environment conducive to work and free of distractions. Your desk doesn't have to be perfectly clear, but if it's piled high with papers, you'll be easily distracted.
  • If you've been sitting at your desk for a while trying to think of solutions to a problem, move to another place. A change in scenery could improve your creativity. Even the short walk to the new place could help you clear your mind.
  • When you hit a roadblock, work on something else for half an hour. Then go back to your original project.
  • Work on creative ideas during your most productive time of day. Some people are morning people; others come up with their best ideas after lunch. Determine what time of day works best for you and devote that time to creating new ideas, improving existing ideas or solving problems.
  • Set a reward for creativity. When you finally solve the problem or get a new idea, go out to lunch, leave work early or do anything else that motivates you.