Every workplace requires some amount of creativity. We all know that professional writers, artists, and musicians make a living from their creative work, but other workplaces also have creative components. A web designer, SEO specialist, and programmer also need a level of creativity in their fields if they wish to succeed.
The problem is, it’s hard to be focused and creative all the time. A creativity block tends to be infuriating, with precious hours slipping away and nothing you can do about it. The most important thing you should know about a creativity block is that you can’t force it away – no matter how much you try and focus, it will just stay if you push your limits.
Ironically enough, getting over a creativity block requires some creativity. Since this is exactly what you are missing at that moment, we have prepared a list of 15 ways that will help you get over even the nastiest creativity block.
1. A Simple Break Will Break the Block
Doing something as simple as getting away from your computer for a few minutes (or hours) might be just enough to clear your head. Author David Burkus explained this in “How to Have a Eureka Moment” in Harvard Business Review: “…When you work on a problem continuously, you can become fixated to previous solutions.” By taking a break, you refocus your mind. When you get back to your original task, you will be more open to new ways of solving the problem.
2. Get Some Fresh Air
Being in the same room for hours will take a toll on your focus. Go outside! There’s nothing better to clear your head than some fresh air. If the weather isn’t the greatest and you don’t feel like going outside, let the fresh air in – open a window and take a short break while you air out your office.
3. Write it Down
Always carry a memo with you. Let’s be honest: How many times did you have a great idea and told yourself you will remember it, but you forgot all about it as soon as you turned your attention to something else? You never know when a great idea might pop into your head so having a memo to write down your ideas immediately helps a lot.
Another way to declutter your mind is by giving your body something to do – go for a run, lift some weights, go for a hike; simply do whichever exercise you prefer to give your mind a proper break.
5. A Quick Nap Helps
Power napping, although not new anymore, is still widely underrated. Feeling the zzzz’s coming? Don’t fight it and just go for it. A simple 15 to 20 minutes is often enough to give your creativity a jump start.
6. Take a Shower
Many great ideas started under the shower. A relaxing shower will let your thoughts flow freely. And to prevent these great inspiring moments going to waste, you might want to invest into one of those waterproof notepads to write things down then and there.
7. Switch it up
When facing a creativity block, don’t just wait for it to end. Make use of the time and work on something else. This will allow you to shift your focus, which will ultimately lead to new ideas and end your creativity block.
Switching your location can also do wonders in helping with a creativity block. When working in the same place all the time, your workday can quickly boil down to mundane tasks that kill the last remnants of creativity in your mind. Take your work to a new location and watch that creativity block go away as you take in your new environment.
8. Set up some ground rules
If you are prone to procrastination (and there really are only a few who aren’t), set up some ground rules that will ensure you’ll get the job done properly. Setting up your work hours in simple shifts often helps you focus – there are a number of online timers that can help you divide your work. A good rule of thumb is working for 20 minutes and taking a break for 5 minutes. You can choose whether you wish to work longer or make longer breaks too, just make sure that your breaks aren’t equally long or longer than your work shifts.
9. Work within parameters
Another thing that often leads to creativity block is having too many choices. Deciding between various directions can lead you to a crippling halt. Eliminate some of those directions, choose one, and work towards it. If you see that you have better solutions for an alternative route, don’t ignore it, explore it!
10. Visit Your Inspiration Folder
Have a folder (or bookmarks) of works that inspire and motivate you. Whenever you see that you are slowing down and having difficulties with your tasks, take a break and remind yourself anew of what drives and motivates you.
11. Make a List of What Doesn’t Work
When you are stuck on the same step and can’t figure out what to do next, it’s not a bad idea to make a list of things that you’re sure will NOT happen. This way, you might figure out some other steps that will follow, and you will eventually find a path that will lead you to the next step.
12. Watch a Movie or a TV Show
Is the new episode of your favorite show already out, while you are stuck on the same problem with no inspiration, and you just really want to watch the new episode? Well watch it then! It’s a great way to unwind and you will feel refreshed and ready to work after it.
The only original work of art is the first work of art. Everything else is a copy to some extent. Every creative person out there knows that in order to become great at what you do, you have to copy others. A musician learns by playing music from other musicians. Find what inspires you and learn to imitate. Add a dash of your personality to it, and you will be great at any task.
14. Nothing is Perfect so…
There is no such thing as perfection in this world, so try not to make your project perfect. It’s more than fine to be less than perfect. Have a relaxed approach to work and your creativity will flow freely.
15. Don’t Worry!
Eliminate stress. It’s one of the most common culprits behind a creativity block. The most important thing to do is identify the issue – solving might take some time too, but once you know what troubles you, you will quickly find the solution. By doing so, you will also eliminate your creativity block.
The next time you stumble upon a creativity block, don’t try to force your way through it. You will get rid of the block much sooner if you take a break and try doing something that refocuses and rejuvenates your mind.