We live in a state of constant disruption. This isn’t a bad thing; great ideas, products and services are all results of this disruptive culture. Like what? Oooo … let’s see … the smartphone? Or to be all encompassing — mobile devices.
Yet these mobile devices are also a cause of disruption throughout our day (and not always in a good way). Sometimes as creatives, we hop on these miracle machines to pass the time or to distract ourselves when stuck on a project. Nielsen notes that in Q4 of 2014, the average person spent 37 hours and 28 minutes per month just on mobile apps. Whatever the purpose, we are all guilty of turning to these tiny computers and wasting hours.
It is time for us to take charge of how this disruptive device plays into these brain-locked moments. We need to change where we are directing our attention as we seek inspiration. But how?
There’s no reason to shun technology completely; just shake things up a bit. Try out these four types of mobile apps to spark your creativity and gain a skill or two.
I know, I know … the whole reason you are wasting time on your mobile device is because you don’t want to think. Just hear me out. Distraction doesn’t have to be mindless.
Apps like Elevate or Peak are perfect for a 20-minute brain challenge. Thinking apps help to improve focus and comprehension, but they also force you to consider something other than your problem at the time. These apps are challenging and competitive, providing daily challenges through various games with progressive levels. Each game is geared toward a specific area of focus (like mental agility, memory or strategic thinking). Once you have completed the daily workout, you’ll be able to see the areas you are progressing in, what your opportunities for improvement are and how others compare. The best part of challenging yourself is the improved confidence you’ll gain with these workouts.
This category is about training your brain to think better, to think differently and to think quicker.
All right, so maybe you’d like a more singular focus in your skill-building activities. That’s fine, too. Focus on writing. It is a skill that will entertain you and help unlock those creative thoughts. You can start with something like HaikuJAM, which offers a community to interact with. In this app, you take a mashup of your words or pictures with your friends or other community members and shape it all into a haiku. This is truly a great “no pressure” way to get that awesome line out there in the written word without having to complete your thought alone.
If community collaboration isn’t your thing, that’s OK, too. Check out Writing Challenge. This writing app has a game-like setup that challenges your thinking. It starts by providing a choice of prompts to write from. Once you begin writing, the app provides various ideas, words or other elements you’ll need to incorporate into the plot. Kind of like an evolving Mad Libs (the ad lib game). So even when you get stuck, another idea is on the way!
Maybe you’re the type who’d prefer to try to learn something completely new rather than build upon an existing skill. Great! Pick up another language with these apps: Mango Languages or Duolingo. We’re not talking about becoming fluent overnight. But knowing the basics of another language might just give you that edge you’ve been looking for.
Think about it. What would knowing a second language do for you? What would make your life better: spending 20 minutes going through challenges on an app to learn another language or spending 20 minutes mindlessly scrolling through your social feed? Exactly. A second language will not only allow you to learn something completely new, it will also give you the opportunity to explore another culture. What’s more inspiring (and empowering) than that?
OK, fine. I get it. You’re looking for a more simplistic approach to generating those creative vibes. Then it is a must to add brainsparker (available on iOS only) or Idea Card to your phone’s app library. Both apps are useful for brainstorming solutions; users can create cards to share with a community for feedback, comment on other cards or read through random cards to provoke thoughts. Either way, this is a great solution to reset your mind, see things in a new light and ask questions you would have never asked on your own. You might even get into it so much that you’ll use it as a team-building exercise in stale meetings.
Do you have other mobile apps you turn to for “disruption” to fuel your creativity? Leave us a comment to let us know your favorite.