Ilustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

You’ll find that some days, the ideas come fast and furious. The days  when you just want to sit at your desk, stare up at the sky and just  let your mind wander.

Other days, though, you really want to get moving. You’re antsy and  you can’t really focus on any one thought. Instead, you are most  efficient if you are getting things done.

It is no coincidence that the motivation  to think and the motivation to act seem to strike us at different  times. Research by psychologists Arie Kruglanski, Tory Higgins, and  their colleagues suggests that we have two complementary motivational  systems: the “thinking” system and the “doing” system – and we’re  generally only capable of using one at a time.

Think about how you best generate new ideas. Often, you “brainstorm”  or try to come up with as many ideas as possible. That is called diverging and requires our thinking system. At other times, you need to evaluate  those ideas and figure out which ones are best. That is called converging, and it requires the activation of the doing system.

Managing your mindset can help you optimize your thinking when you are  trying to be creative. Here are a few suggestions for influencing your  motivational state. These suggestions can be effective either for you as  an individual or when you are working in a group.

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by Art Markman / 99u

Art Markman, PhD is a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas  and Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations.  His research explores the cognitive science of creativity, motivation,  and decision making. Art is the author of Smart Thinking and Habits of Leadership.

Winner of two Webby Awards for Best Cultural Blog, (by Behance) provides daily insights on how to make ideas happen through in-depth interviews, articles, videos, and bite-size blog posts. Across all of these formats, we aim to extract pragmatic, actionable tips that equip creative minds to make their dreams a reality.