They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Know what else is terrible to waste? Time! So instead of spinning endlessly in your Herman Miller waiting for inspiration to strike,

1. Set the mood

First, we need to get that beautiful mind of yours warmed up. Check out Brain.fm [iOS, Android], which promises greater focus in about 15 minutes thanks to brain-specific music specially crafted by artificial intelligence. The app is free for the first 10 sessions ($7 a month thereafter) and also features music to help you meditate, chill out, or sleep at the end of a long day.

2. Write right

Now that we’re cranially firing on all cylinders, let’s get those fingers flying. The rapid back-and-forth between hands and head can work wonders for idea generation, so we just need to cobble some words together—and what better way to bring out your inner Bill Shakespeare than with some writing prompts? There are lots of options here, but take a look at the aptly named Prompts for Writing [iOS, $.99] and Writing Prompts [Android, free, with ads], each of which will get you started with various story-like scenarios, one-line prompts, and even user-submitted options.

3. Tweak it to perfection

Okay, now it’s idea time! Let’s make sure we’re coming up with something new and bold. The free Nesta Fast Idea Generator [web] is a great toolkit to download to ensure you’re challenging conventions and thinking differently. With nine different approaches available to leverage—from Inversion (turning a common practice upside down) to Exaggeration (pushing something to its most extreme expression)—it’ll keep your ideas feeling fresh and fully developed.

4. Organize and formalize

We’re officially cooking with gas at this point, so let’s give that core idea some legs by expanding upon it. How does it associate with other ideas? What does it affect? What’s the big picture? The excellent SimpleMind [iOS, Android, Mac/Widowsn] mind-mapping tool sports free and paid versions across multiple platforms and works wonders to help you firm up the malleable once you’ve thought things through a bit.