Sometimes, you just feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Like you’ve got no fresh ideas left, and can’t create something unique no matter how badly you want to. This doesn’t say anything about you as a creative. It happens to the best of us. What defines you as a creative professional, is how you deal with it. Do you keep working until you overheat and explode? Shut down completely? Or, put out progressively worse garbage until you’ve been stopped?
None of these are ideal. So, before getting to any of these points—take a step back, and explore the following five ways to get your creative juices flowing again.
Take a Walk
If you’ve hit a productivity wall, sitting at your desk any longer won’t do you any good. Get up, and preferably, get out. Whether it be to another floor of your office building, or a walk around the block: a change of scenery is a great first step to finding some inspiration.
You never know what you’ll encounter. Take the time to strike up conversation with someone from another department, or go into that coffee shop down the road you have yet to try. Be nice to the barista, and ask them an interesting question.
There’s great power in getting away from the space in which you do most of your work. While it can be productive for you usually, the space can become a vacuum if you let it. Give you, and your office, some space.
Phone a Friend
Perhaps it’s while you’re on the previously mentioned walk, on the way home from work, or on your lunch break. Take a moment to connect with an old friend, someone who has always found ways to inspire you. Ask them unique questions, bring up old memories, even blatantly ask for ideas or prompts.
Calling on a friend in your time of need is kind of what they’re for. You’ll feel a sense of relief, talking to someone not from work about something other than work. It will get regions of your brain that may have begun to power down, back online.
Adult coloring books have made quite the splash in recent years, and while perhaps strange to some—I don’t think any creative will ever bash you for partaking. Following along with, and adding to someone else’s creativity can be an effective way to get yours flowing once again. It’s open ended, low-risk, and brings you back to simpler times.
Listen to Music
If you’re like me, you probably already are. I like having music on in the background while I work. But, if you’re facing a creative blockage—listen to some music. Watch the music video, and really listen to the lyrics. Maybe lip sync, or start belting out if you can. Like coloring, you’re embracing the beauty of someone else’s creativity. And, unless you’re extremely talented: modulating it, bringing your own style to the arrangement. This light-hearted activity is a great way to blow off some steam, and adjust your attitude.
When all else fails, take the rest of the day off. If you work in an environment which is driven by your productivity, not your clocks, leadership will likely understand that you’ve given as much as you can for the day. There’s a much greater benefit to taking the time to relax and recharge, so you can outperform the next day.
Of course, your deadlines must be met (and you shouldn’t make too much of a habit of it). But when you maintain an effective relationship with your superiors, and entire team, work-life balance should be expected, and respected from and by all.
Some (okay most) of these seem like really basic avenues for dealing with a creative blockage, but as long as you don’t let it build too great, that’s usually all it takes.
What are some ways you find effective for dealing with creative brain blocks? Let’s help each other out in the comments!