Hitting a creative block is a lot like coming across construction on a long road trip. It’s inconvenient, it comes out of nowhere and it slows everything down. “I feel like I can’t think” someone might say, as they stare blankly at their monitor. Waiting for inspiration or motivation to return.
However, unlike road construction, there are several things you can do to snap your mind out of it. And get back on track. Often halfway through a long day, I need to refocus my energy to ensure I get all my work done
Feeling those 3 pm blues? Losing your inspiration? Productivity at an all-time low? Let’s look at some ways to get rid of that creative block.
Often we get so caught in our own way of doing things. We forget to branch out and do something new. If you’re feeling caught in either a creative or unproductive rut, pushing further and endeavouring with the same techniques and styles that you’re used to may be counterproductive.
For creatives, changing course may be something as simple as picking a different set of watercolours as an artist. If you’re working with numbers, then using a different calculation program or approaching statistic from a different angle may inspire you. No matter what field you work in, there’s always more than one way to do something. And if you’ve been approaching your tasks the same way for an extended period of time, then perhaps it’s time for a change.
Don’t be afraid to tread a different path, since the path you know is the one that got you there in the first place.
Go For A Stroll
Getting fresh air may sound like a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason! Never underestimate the power of some sunshine. The clean air, the exercise, and the fact that you’re no longer in your office all lends itself to creative energy. Plus, you get a chance to clear your mind and approach your remaining tasks with new vigour.
The boost isn’t just a psychological one either, a study from Standford in the USA showed that walking had the ability to increase creative output by 60%, even by walking on a treadmill.
So pack a pair of sneakers in your work bag. Or keep some under your desk for whenever the urge hits you. Don’t be afraid to take meetings or phone calls outside either.
Massage Your Brain
Those who work creatively are often content to let inspiration find them, which leads to inconsistency and unpredictability. Professional creatives and those in other departments show up every day and get to work regardless of how they feel! What one often finds is once you put in the work, the inspiration naturally comes.
If you’re stuck at a mental roadblock, try switching gears to something different and see if it doesn’t spark your brain back into life. Something as simple as a brain training game has been helpful for many. Brain improvement exercises, especially those done with others in a group, can unlock your reserve of mental energy that’s been locked away for years.
Love The Unknown
Like changing course or approach, maybe sometimes what you need most is run head first towards the things that scare you most. We all have those techniques or projects that we’re afraid to try for a whole heap of reason. In times of a mental block pull that list out and get started. Why not? It’s not like you’re doing anything else…
For business professionals, it can mean starting a project you didn’t think you were capable of, for creatives it an be experimenting with a medium you’ve never tried before. Either way, embrace the fears and the unknowns of your career path. Use them to lift you out of your slump!
If you’re someone who works from home, the sights and sounds of your home office may start to feel claustrophobic after a while. The simple solution means taking your laptop to the park, or your local cafe and set up there for the day.
If you’re office-bound then this can be a little tricky. If your work PC is a laptop, then unplugging and sitting in the kitchen or an empty boardroom can prove just as effective. Your mind is like a flower, and it can grow in certain soil and never seed in another. When it comes to any kind of workplace productivity then your mind needs stimulation. And if you’re not finding that stimulation at your desk then go and find it elsewhere.
One of the most inherently crippling things about any productive or creative block is the belief that what you’re working on simply isn’t any good.
If self-doubt is the water quenching your creative fire, then ally those fears by pushing through and finishing whatever it is you’re working on regardless of the outcome. It won’t be perfect, but at least you’ve created something you can work off later. In addition, the feeling of completion can rejuvenate you. Giving you the tools needed to finish off your day strongly.
And with that, I’m off for a walk. I’ll get back to posting this later.