Constantly creating and churning out ideas can be taxing; it’s easy to find yourself in a slump where even simple tasks feel huge. If anyone understands that, we marketing folks do, but it’s also pretty common among business owners, students, performers, and endless numbers of people around the world. So what do you do when it feels like you’re dragging your brain behind you? Games. Yup, you read that right. Today we're breaking down Greyphin’s creativity games and challenges to fuel your work. These are our go-to games for stimulating the kind of thought processes we need for creation, all of which are accessible and acceptable enough to do while at work.
Sudoku & Puzzles
Not all games in this category are equal. If you don’t want to fall down a gaming rabbit hole, it’s best to go with games with a clear end, like Sudoku or crossword puzzles, rather than games that can go on for hours, like Tetris or World of Warcraft. Save those for when you want to delve into a story or zone out for a bit, both of which are also sometimes beneficial for stimulating creativity but are less acceptable at work.
Fun Fact: sometimes when Greyphin Zoom meetings get finished early, we play Gartic, which is basically an online version of Pictionary. Not only is it great for team-building and stress-breaking, the game forces players to think creatively about words and visual representation, and it creates a situation to see things from a different perspective. We can’t recommend it enough. No teammates to play with? No problem. You can play against strangers online. See also: Codenames, Scrabble, and Scattergories
Common Ground / Mashups
If you have a teammate who can join you, this is the game where two people each say a word at the same time, and every subsequent round is attempting to determine what the previous two words have in common with the goal of getting both people to say the same thing. There are plenty of fun videos online of people playing. If you’re on your own, don’t fear, you can adapt this game to more of a mashup situation, where you have to describe and explain the combination of the two random words.
The Person Who Owns This
A combination of analysis and inference, this game asks you to take any object (or picture of an object, if it’s detailed) and break it down into itty-bitty pieces to make assumptions about the person who might own it. Let’s say you start with a desk cup full of pens and pencils. On the surface, this is an ordinary object, but then you might notice that there’s a pair of scissors in there, and there are a lot of blue pens in particular, and a lot of them are a specific brand. Oh, and the cup has the name of a Disney World resort and Goofy on its side, but the graphic is old and a bit worn. The closer you look, the more details you get to build a picture of “the person who owns this.” The point is to practice analysis, not to be “right” about the owner, exactly.
Sometimes you need a little stimulation, but you still have to get writing done. In those instances, small challenges can give you a different focus-point to help you approach routine writing tasks with more flare. They’re even more fun when someone else is in on the act or helps dish out the challenge. For example:
Rather than trying to find words amidst the chaos, here you're trying to place them. Randomly generate a list of 5-10 words and include all of them in whatever you’re writing. Trying to fit the word “barf” into a product description without compromising a sale is a pretty great challenge in creativity.
Focus on a specific tangible item and use that item as an entry-point into your work. Sometimes grounding our thoughts in a physical object can help us to build the world or emotions surrounding it. J. R. R. Tolkien had a ring. Sia had a chandelier. The list goes on.
Start The SameThis challenge has endless possibilities. In some cases, you might choose a specific letter and practice alliteration. In others, you might choose a particular word or theme. Writing social media copy is going to be a lot more fun when each post has to start with the name of a different spice girl, a prepositional phrase, or whatever your mind tells you to fixate on.
Visual Design Challenges
Do It Badly
If your internal editor is throwing dozens of rules at you about what you can’t do and what you need to avoid to create something good, don’t give that annoying voice what it wants. Giving yourself permission to create something bad not only silences some of the excess chatter in your brain, it also gives you a wonderful challenge: after you’ve created your terrible thing, find a way to make it better, good even. What could you alter to turn this horrible thing into something great?
Desaturation / Randomize Color
Your approach here depends on how you’re creating your work. If you’re working digitally, Google how to put your software or your device in greyscale mode. Select colors at random, then challenge yourself to create something eye-catching, with your work remaining desaturated. Finally, with digital magic, return your device or software to full-color mode, and see if the design still works. Tweak it as-needed or try to find a way to make these colors work. For those of you not working with technology, you can create a similar kind of challenge by limiting yourself to just two or three colors, randomly selected by a blind hand or nearby toddler.
Candid CameraInspired by TikTok’s “Not everything can be an album cover” trend, the idea here is to start with an unassuming candid image or video, (if you don’t have one, just take a quick one in whatever space and position you’re currently in) and with simple filters or a light graphic touch, make it more of a statement. I just tried it, and I did in fact make my laundry-covered armchair look like art.
So there you have it. We hope these creativity games and challenges serve you well. If you’re feeling like you’re in a bit of a slump in what you're making, you have permission from the folks at Greyphin to take a little gaming break. And if you've got other ideas you want to share with us, drop us a comment on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn